Bruce Hough, the father of two professional dancers who have been mainstays on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” has qualified for the Republican primary ballot in the special election for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, the lieutenant governor’s office said Wednesday.
Republican Rep. Chris Stewart has announced that he will resign from the seat on September 15 – 10 days after the Republican primary – citing his wife’s health concerns. The general election will take place on November 21.
Hough, a former chair of the Utah GOP and a current national committeeman at the Republican National Committee, submitted more than 7,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot. Joining him in the primary will be Celeste Maloy, a former Stewart aide who earned her spot by winning a 2nd District nominating convention last month, and former state Rep. Becky Edwards, who also submitted sufficient signatures to qualify. Both Hough and Edwards were eliminated in an early round of voting at the nominating convention.
“I can’t thank you enough for signing my petition,” Hough said in a tweet after reaching the signature threshold. “Your support gave me the opportunity to fight for our district’s values in Congress.”
Among Hough’s 10 children are professional dancers Julianne and Derek Hough, who rose to fame on “Dancing with the Stars.” Derek is a judge on the hit reality show, while Julianne will be a co-host this season.
On the trail, Bruce Hough has emphasized the need to “pinpoint the problems” and “do the incremental work that we need to do,” which he says includes reducing debt and controlling the deficit to “slow the growth of government.”
“We have got to get the bureaucracy under control,” he told ABC4 last month.
He cited his family as one of the reasons why he’s running.
“With 22 grandkids, 10 kids and a $32 trillion (US) debt, I’m very anxious about their future and about the future of all Americans and all Utahns,” he said. “It’s time that we actually do something about it.”
Democrats picked state Sen. Kathleen Riebe as their nominee at a 2nd District convention last month. But she will be a decided underdog in the general election for the deep-red seat that covers much of western Utah, stretching from the Salt Lake City area to St. George. Stewart won a sixth term last fall by 26 points while voters in the redrawn seat would have backed Donald Trump by 17 points in 2020.
Stewart has endorsed Maloy, who worked as a counsel in his Washington office, in the race to succeed him, saying, “She is a strong conservative woman with Utah values and the one person in the race I know for certain is ready to serve on day one.”
Maloy has faced questions over her eligibility for the special election primary ballot over voter registration issues. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that she updated her registration as a Utah Republican three days after she filed to run and a day after the filing deadline for the special election. She was marked inactive in the state’s voter database after she did not cast a ballot in 2020 and 2022, the newspaper said.
The state GOP, however, has submitted Maloy’s name to the lieutenant governor’s office for the Republican primary ballot, saying, “Our bylaws are clear: Ms. Maloy is the convention nominee.”
“Any formal challenges to her eligibility,” the party said, “would have had to have been made prior to the election. None were filed.”