Christopher Douglas Stewart (born July 15, 1960)[1] is an American politician, author and businessman serving as the U.S. Representative for Utah’s 2nd congressional district since 2013. A member of the Republican Party, he is known for his bestsellers Seven Miracles That Saved America and The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World, as well as his series The Great and Terrible.

Stewart graduated from Utah State University in 1984 before joining the United States Air Force. Later, he began writing novels and became president and CEO of the Shipley Group. He is a defender of former President Donald Trump. In 2020, Stewart won a fifth term in the House of Representatives, defeating Democratic nominee Kael Weston.

Early life and education

Stewart was born in Logan, Utah, and grew up on a dairy farm in Cache Valley. His father was a retired Air Force pilot and teacher. His mother, Sybil S. Stewart, was a full-time homemaker and was recognized as the Utah Mother of the Year in 1996.[2]

Stewart graduated from Sky View High School in 1978 and entered Utah State University that year. After a year in college, he served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Texas. After his church service, Stewart reentered Utah State, and in 1984 earned a degree in economics from its College of Business.

Military service

Stewart served in the Air Force for 14 years, initially flying rescue helicopters and then transitioning to fixed-wing jets and flying the B-1B bomber. He was stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Mountain Home Air Force Base, and other Air Force bases.

After college, Stewart was accepted into the Air Force’s Officer Training School, followed by assignment to Undergraduate Pilot Training, graduating at the top of his class in both instances. Stewart flew both helicopters and jet aircraft in the military.[3]

In 1995, Stewart was awarded the Mackay Trophy for “significant aerial achievement” for the combat capability operation known as Coronet Bat. On June 3, 1995, Stewart and a flight of two B-1s set the world record for the fastest nonstop flight around the world. He was the mission’s senior project officer. The mission’s purpose was to demonstrate the B-1 Lancer‘s capability with live bombing activity over three bombing ranges on three continents in two hemispheres.[4] In the process, the team set three world records, flying 36,797.65 kilometers in 36 hours and 13 minutes.[5] The mission was recounted in the book Supersonic Saints: Thrilling Stories from LDS Pilots.[citation needed]

Private sector career

Business career

After his military career, Stewart entered the private sector. He was president and CEO of the Shipley Group, a consulting company that specializes in energy and environmental issues.[6] Shipley also participates in government anti-terrorism training, corporate security and executive preparedness consulting. Stewart sold his majority ownership in Shipley Group in December 2012 before being sworn in as a U.S. congressman.[7]

Writing career

Stewart began writing books in the late 1990s. His first novel, Shattered Bone, was published in 1998.[8] Stewart wrote four additional techno-thrillers before he began writing the series The Great and Terrible. Before completing his last book in that series, he started writing historical novels. His book Seven Miracles That Saved America was chosen as “Book of the Month”, and The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World became a New York Times Bestseller within two weeks of publication and was selected for the National Communications Award by the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge. The Miracle of Freedom and Seven Miracles That Saved America were co-written with his brother, U.S. district judge Ted Stewart. The Miracle of Freedom was endorsed by radio/talk show host Glenn Beck, who has been credited for making the book a bestseller.[9][10] Stewart has written 14 books.[11][unreliable source] He worked with Elizabeth Smart to co-write her memoir, My Story.[12] In 2005, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed A Christmas Bell for Anya, which he co-authored with his wife Evie.[13][14]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2012

On October 21, 2011, Utah Policy wrote that Stewart was going to run for Congress in Utah’s 2nd congressional district.[15] His formal announcement took place on December 6, 2011.[16][17]

In February 2012, Stewart released a campaign video expressing his view that “if we don’t make some difficult decisions now, if we don’t show the courage to do what we have to do to save our country, we won’t make it for another 10 years.” He also said that “at critical times in our history… we literally had miracles where God intervened to save us.”[18]

On April 21, 2012, at a controversial nominating convention, Stewart secured the Republican nomination. Before the convention, an anonymous anti-Stewart mailer was sent to convention delegates. In his speech to delegates, another candidate, Milt Hanks, alleged that the other candidates had made an anti-Stewart pact. Stewart’s opponents considered the mailer and the allegations to be a set-up to elicit sympathy for Stewart’s candidacy; they later filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission over the incident.[18][19] A subsequent party inquiry showed no proof of wrongdoing by any candidate.[1]

Stewart won the general election with 62% of the vote, defeating Jay Seegmiller, and took office on January 3, 2013.

2014

In the 2014 election, Stewart was challenged by Luz Robles, a state senator and vice president of Zions Bank. Robles suspended campaigning for two months to serve as caregiver for her daughter and mother, who were seriously injured in a car accident.[20]

2016

In the 2016 election, Stewart faced Charlene Albarran, a business owner.[21] Stewart defeated Albarran with 62% of the vote.

2018

Stewart faced Shireen Ghorbani, an Iranian-American, in the 2018 election. As of April 2018, Stewart had six times as much cash on hand as Ghorbani.[22] Stewart defeated Ghorbani with 56% of the vote.[23]

2020

UtahPolicy.com reported the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considered Stewart potentially vulnerable to a strong opponent, due to Donald Trump‘s unpopularity in the 2nd District and Stewart’s record of defending him.[24]

A poll taken in January 2020 among likely voters showed Stewart with 38% of the vote and a Democratic challenger with 36% of the vote. The remainder were undecided or voting for someone else.[25]

Stewart defeated Kael Weston, a former State Department employee, in the general election.[26]

Tenure

Stewart chaired the House Subcommittee on the Environment.[27]

In 2016, Stewart introduced a bill to allow unused Ebolavirus funding to research and combat the Zika virus.[28] In 2017, the proposal was adopted as part of a separate bill, the Zika Response Appropriations Act, which shifted $622 million in unused Ebola funding to fight Zika.[29]

A July 2019 poll showed Stewart with the lowest approval rating of any Utah congressperson.[30]

Iraq

In June 2021, Stewart was one of 49 House Republicans to vote to repeal the AUMF against Iraq.[31][32]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Utah’s 2nd congressional district: Results 2012–[38]
YearRepublicanVotesPctDemocratVotesPct3rd PartyPartyVotesPct3rd PartyPartyVotesPct3rd PartyPartyVotesPct
2012Chris Stewart154,52362Jay Seegmiller83,17633Jonathan D. GarrardConstitution5,0512Joseph AndradeIndependent2,9711Charles KimballIndependent2,8241
2014Chris Stewart88,91561Luz Robles47,58533Shaun McCauslandConstitution4,5093Wayne HillIndependent American3,3282Bill BarronIndependent1,7341
2016Chris Stewart170,52462Charlene Albarran93,77834Paul McCollaum Jr.Constitution12,5175
2018Chris Stewart151,48956Shireen Ghorbani105,05139Jeffrey WhippleLibertarian13,5045

Political positions

Healthcare

Stewart’s official congressional webpage highlights his efforts to defund and repeal Obamacare

According to his website, since arriving in Congress, Stewart has “consistently supported efforts to defund and repeal Obamacare.” He co-sponsored the Defund Obamacare Act of 2013 and supported other efforts to “repeal, defund or dismantle the law.” He also promised to “continue to do all that [he] can to seek strategic opportunities to… defund, delay and repeal this healthcare law.” In place of Obamacare, Stewart supported the American Healthcare Reform Act.[39]

Environment

As of 2013, Stewart rejected the idea that climate change is caused by human activity.[27]

In 2014, Stewart sponsored H.R. 1422 (113th Congress), the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2014, which would reform the composition and activities of the Environmental Protection Agency‘s science advisory board. Under the bill, at least 10% of the members of the board would be required to be from state, local, or tribal governments, corporate and industry experts would no longer be excluded from the board, and board members would be prohibited from advising the EPA in discussions that cite their work. The bill was opposed by Democrats and critics such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, who said it would enable conflicts of interest and restrict scientists’ ability to provide proper advice to the government.[40][41]

Stewart has a 3% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.[42]

Economic issues

During the 2012 campaign, Stewart stated “we can’t continue to have 1.2-, 1.3-, 1.4-trillion-dollar deficits for the foreseeable future and just pretend that that’s not going to matter, because it will.”[18]

Stewart supports simplifying the tax code, lowering the corporate tax rate, and eliminating the estate tax.[43] He voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[44]

Bundy standoff

In an interview regarding the Bundy standoff of 2014, Stewart said that the Bureau of Land Management could have avoided the standoff by allowing local sheriffs to intervene. Citing concerns about the level of weaponry federal agents carried, he also sponsored a bill (H.R. 4934) to demilitarize federal regulatory agencies.[45][46]

Donald Trump

Stewart is considered “one of President Trump’s most steadfast defenders in Congress.”[24] For instance, after Trump said he would be open to receiving intelligence on a campaign opponent from a foreign country and not alerting the FBI, Stewart defended him, saying that if the information is “credible, I think it would be foolish not to take that information.”[47] According to Ellen Weintraub, the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission, it is illegal for a campaign to accept anything of value from a foreign person or entity in regard to a U.S. election.[48]

According to political polling and reporting website FiveThirtyEight, Stewart’s votes aligned with Trump’s positions about 95% of the time.[49] Stewart was reportedly under consideration to serve in the Trump administration as acting Director of National Intelligence,[50] but Richard Grenell was chosen instead.[51]

During the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Stewart was critical of Trump. Addressing an audience at the Hinckley Institute of Politics, Stewart compared him to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, saying, “if some of you are Donald Trump supporters, we see the world differently, because I can’t imagine what someone is thinking.”[52]

Mueller investigation

After Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of the Mueller Report, Stewart released the following statement:

Mr. Mueller conducted a detailed and thorough investigation that mirrors what we found in the House Intelligence investigation—no collusion or conspiracy between the Trump Campaign and Russia.[53]

Stewart’s statement did not address the issue of obstruction of justice. The Mueller Report stated that “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him” from the charge of obstruction of justice.[54]

After the report’s release, Stewart accused the “former leadership” of the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the CIA of “astounding” corruption, without providing any details or supporting evidence. He also called for a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton’s emails and allegations of spying on the Trump campaign that led to the Mueller investigation.[55]

Stewart was the only member of Congress from Utah to question Mueller during his appearance before Congress on July 24, 2019. He confronted Mueller about leaks that he asserted came from Mueller’s office and were allegedly “designed to weaken or embarrass” Trump.[56] Others, including Washington, D.C.-area media reporters, considered Mueller’s office an unlikely source of the leaks.[57]

Ukraine scandal and impeachment inquiry

Stewart defended Trump’s actions with regard to the Trump–Ukraine scandal. In his opening statement during impeachment proceedings as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Stewart apparently characterized the impeachment inquiry as a coup d’état when he said, “the coup has started”, but later declined to clarify his remark.[58]

During the impeachment hearings, Stewart repeatedly defended Trump’s behavior, criticized witnesses whose testimony implicated Trump in wrongdoing, and criticized the impeachment process.[59] He called for Adam Schiff, the chair of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, to recuse himself from the investigation of Trump’s dealings.[60]

When Trump called for Senator Mitt Romney‘s “impeachment” and Stewart was asked to comment, he declined to defend Romney. Romney had expressed support for the committee’s inquiry. (Senators cannot be impeached.)[61]

On December 18, 2019, Stewart voted against both articles of impeachment against Trump. Of the 195 Republican representatives who voted, all voted against both impeachment articles.

References

  1. ^ a b “Archived copy”. Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved 2012-11-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Palmer, Douglas (February 11, 1996). “Mothers honored for the love and service they give families”. Deseret News. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  3. ^ Stewart.house.gov. “Biography”.
  4. ^ “Awards”. National Aeronautic Association. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  5. ^ “Squadron Service 1985-2001”. Targetlock. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  6. ^ “The Shipley Group”. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  7. ^ “New Utah congressman sells his consulting business”. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  8. ^ Stewart, Chris (1998). Shattered Bone. M. Evans & Company. ISBN 9780871318312.
  9. ^ “Author Chris Stewart running for 2nd District seat”. Deseret News. November 9, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  10. ^ “Glenn Beck catapults The Miracle of Freedom to bestseller”. Shadow Mountain. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  11. ^ Chris Stewart at Goodreads
  12. ^ “Elizabeth Smart to finally publish her own version of her abduction”. New York Daily News. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  13. ^ Stewart, Chris (2006). “A Christmas Bell for Anya”. Shadow Mountain. Archived from the original on May 4, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  14. ^ Haddock, Sharon (June 29, 2006). “Patriotic author stresses sacrifice”. Deseret News. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  15. ^ “Add Another Republican Name to the 2nd District Race”. Utah Policy.
  16. ^ Gehrke, Robert. “Two new candidates join GOP field for 2nd District”. The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  17. ^ Montero, David. “Stewart launches bid with help of Bangerter, Hansen, Beck”. Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  18. ^ a b c “Utah Set to Send Glenn Beck-Approved End Times Novelist to Congress”. Mother Jones.
  19. ^ “Holy Ghost employed to ensure victory”. Salt Lake Tribune.
  20. ^ “2nd District: Stewart, Robles reject extremist labels”. Salt Lake Tribune.
  21. ^ “Albarran taking on Stewart in Utah’s 2nd District”. The Spectrum.
  22. ^ “In her bid to unseat Rep. Chris Stewart, Democrat Shireen Ghorbani is finding that many voters don’t even know the name of their congressman”. Salt Lake Tribune.
  23. ^ O’Donoghue, Amy Joi (November 6, 2018). “Democratic challenger Shireen Ghorbani concedes in Utah’s District 2 race to Rep. Chris Stewart”. Deseret News.
  24. ^ a b “National Democrats think Rep. Chris Stewart could be vulnerable in 2020”. UtahPolicy.com.
  25. ^ “Poll suggests Reps. Chris Stewart and Ben McAdams could have tough re-election campaigns in November”. UtahPolicy.com.
  26. ^ “Republicans will have a four-way primary for governor in June as Greg Hughes joins Cox, Huntsman and Wright on the ballot”. UtahPolicy.com.
  27. ^ a b “Stewart cautious on climate change”. Salt Lake Tribune.
  28. ^ Thomas Burr,
    Utah’s Chris Stewart seeks Ebola money to fight Zika virus, St. Louis Tribune (February 3, 2016).
  29. ^ Matt Canham, House passes Chris Stewart-led Zika bill, White House threatens veto, St. Louis Tribune (May 20, 2017).
  30. ^ “McAdams has the highest approval rating of Utah’s members of Congress, while Romney gets the highest disapproval”. UtahPolicy.com.
  31. ^ “House votes to repeal 2002 Iraq War authorization”.
  32. ^ https://clerk.house.gov/evs/2021/roll172.xml
  33. ^ “Member List”. Republican Study Committee. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  34. ^ Stewart.house.gov. “Committees and Caucuses”. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  35. ^ “Members”. Congressional Western Caucus. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  36. ^ “Our Members”. U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  37. ^ “Members”. U.S. – Japan Caucus. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  38. ^ “Chris Stewart”. ballotpedia.org. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  39. ^ “I’m Working to Defund and Delay Obamacare”. stewart.house.gov. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  40. ^ Marcos, Cristina (November 18, 2014). “House passes bill to reform EPA science panel”. The Hill. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  41. ^ “A letter from the Union of Concerned Scientists to the House of Representatives” (PDF). Union of Concerned Scientists. November 17, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
  42. ^ “National Scorecard, Chris Stewart”. League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  43. ^ “Issues:Tax Reform”. stewart.house.gov. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  44. ^ “Tax Reform Conference Report Passes House”. Press Release, stewart.house.gov.
  45. ^ Glionna, John (August 4, 2014). “BLM, local law enforcement tensions near breaking point in the West”. The Los Angeles Times.
  46. ^ “H.R. 4934 – Regulatory Agency Demilitarization Act”. June 23, 2014.
  47. ^ “Utah Rep. Chris Stewart says it would be ‘foolish’ for a candidate not to look at foreign intel against an opponent”. Salt Lake Tribune.
  48. ^ “One public servant follows her oath, while another violates it”. Washington Post.
  49. ^ “Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump: Chris Stewart”. FiveThirtyEight. January 30, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  50. ^ “Advisers pushing Trump to nominate Stewart for top intelligence post”. UtahPolicy.com.
  51. ^ “Ambassador Richard Grenell to be named director of national intelligence”. Fox News.
  52. ^ “Utah’s Rep. Chris Stewart calls Trump ‘our Mussolini. KUTV.
  53. ^ “Stewart Reacts to Mueller Report Release”. Office of Christ Stewart, Press Release. April 18, 2019.
  54. ^ “Mueller Finds No Trump-Russia Conspiracy, but Stops Short of Exonerating President on Obstruction”. New York Times.
  55. ^ “Some Republicans want an apology over Mueller investigation”. Roll Call.
  56. ^ “Utah Rep. Chris Stewart grills Robert Mueller on alleged leaks”. Deseret News.
  57. ^ “Utah representative accuses Mueller of leaks”. Fox 13 Salt Lake City.
  58. ^ “Utah Rep. Chris Stewart says ‘the coup has started’ during opening day of public impeachment hearings”. Salt Lake Tribune.
  59. ^ For example, see Rep. Chris Stewart predicts impeachment hearings will turn Americans to support Trump, Salt Lake Tribune, Thomas Burr, November 15, 2019. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  60. ^ “Rep. Chris Stewart on calls for full House vote on impeachment, Adam Schiff’s recusal”. Fox News.
  61. ^ Burr, Thomas (October 6, 2019). “Utah Rep. Chris Stewart defends Trump but not Sen. Mitt Romney”. Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved November 16, 2019.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Matheson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Utah’s 2nd congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Raul Ruiz
United States representatives by seniority
188th
Succeeded by
Eric Swalwell