After nearly two decades in office, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is stepping down from his seat in Utah’s 1st Congressional District.
The four Republican candidates looking to replace him have many of the same priorities, like more local control of public lands and supporting Hill Air Force Base.
Leah Murray, a political scientist at Weber State University, said the candidates don’t need to differentiate themselves from the congressman because the district’s people and issues have mostly remained the same. She said cities in Northern Utah haven’t experienced the kind of growth other areas of the state have.
“People are not really moving to Box Elder, so it’s not a district that’s seeing huge change,” Murray said.
A recent poll for the 1st Congressional District by The Strategy Group Company showed about 25% of voters are still undecided, with just a week until the June 30 primary election. Republican CD1 candidate Blake Moore commissioned the poll, which put him in first place at 25%, just ahead of Bob Stevenson at 23%. Fifteen percent said they would support Kerry Gibson, while 12% went for Katie Witt.
Weber County GOP Chair Lacy Richards said she’s neutral about who wins the primary. She noted what sets the candidates apart from each other most is their experience, and she said each of the four candidates embraces the party’s conservative values. But Richards said the open seat has inspired voters to do more research.
“People are vetting candidates that they’re not as familiar with as an incumbent who has been serving for decades,” she said.
In 2018, Bishop won his eighth term in office with 62% of the vote. Before that, he won with 66%, and the margins are similar going back 20 years. Murray said Bishop’s seat is so Republican that the June primary will decide the November general election.
“Whoever the Republicans put up is going to win,” she said.
Emily Means covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @Em_Means13