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2nd District Race Remains Obscure to Many Voters

Utah’s 2nd Congressional District has been overshadowed by the newly added 4th District this election year.   The race between Jim Matheson and Mia Love has attracted national attention as well as money from out of state, while candidates in the recently redrawn 2nd District have had little time in the spotlight. 

2nd District candidates Chris Stewart and Jay Seegmiller were only invited to a recent Salt Lake Rotary Club meeting after the previously scheduled Senate debate was canceled.  Orrin Hatch said he couldn’t make it. 

“I think one of the primary questions that comes up is, where is the 2nd Disctrict? Who is in the 2nd District?” said moderator Bob Springmeyer to the crowd of business and community leaders.

Springmeyer went on to outline that the recently redrawn 2nd District includes most of Salt Lake City, Magna, West Valley City, parts of Davis County, Tooele County, and everything west of I-15 running down to St. George. 

Democrat Jay Seegmiller and Republican Chris Stewart were asked how they would avoid gridlock in Congress, and how they would revise the healthcare system.   But the issue they kept returning to was how to create jobs and improve the economy.  Seegmiller’s plan revolves around bringing overseas manufacturing back to the US. 

“There’s 2.5 trillion dollars that US companies are holding in foreign banks right now,” said Seegmiller, “I would like to incentivize those companies to repatriate that money, bring it back to the US, and use it to create jobs.  I think that not only can we bring these jobs back to the US, but we can bring many of them back to Utah.”

Stewart agreed with Seegmiller that tax incentives could create jobs, but the Republican said more needs to be done.  He said he wants to cut spending, cut regulation, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and push for energy independence.

“If you want to create tens of millions of high-paying jobs, for heaven’s sake, let’s unleash the energy potential that we have within our own nation.  And if you want to change the world strategically, then let’s not send our sons and daughters to protect our resources that we could be developing right here,” said Stewart.

After the debate Chris Stewart told KUER it’s challenging to get a message out to all the voters.

“It’s a new district, and it’s a huge district.  Geographically, it’s about half the state – 14 of the 29 counties.  The other thing is that a lot of people don’t know what district they’re in yet.”

Democrat Jay Seegmiller said many voters are confused because Jim Matheson has switched from his current 2nd District seat to run in the 4th District against Mia Love.

“The problem is that so many people are seeing the Matheson-Love stuff, that they just assume that that means they’re in the District, and it may not be the case,” he said.

Seegmiller said he would like to have had more debates that reached larger audiences, and pointed out that Stewart declined to debate on KSL Newsradio’s Doug Wright show.  Stewart said he’s agreed to 6 debates, and that’s enough.  Meanwhile, Independent candidate Joe Andrade – whose running on a platform to get money out of politics - showed up at the Rotary Club event to protest that he was not invited to debate at all. 

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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