The race for an open seat in the 2nd Congressional District is not your classic Republican vs. Democrat showdown.
Call it more of a contest between a moderate and a conservative.
Author Chris Stewart, a Republican from Farmington, faces former state lawmaker Jay Seegmiller, D-Sandy, in a race for the seat now held by Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Salt Lake, who opted to run in the state's newly created 4th District.
The re-drawn 2nd District includes Davis County from Farmington south to almost I-80, where the lines are drawn to the west including Tooele County, then south to St. George.
Stewart, a former Air Force pilot known for some of his books on American history, claims the only reason some have a hard time separating the two politically is because Seegmiller is running to the right. He said the district is a conservative one, which deserves to be represented by a conservative Republican.
Seegmiller sees himself as more politically aligned with the thinking of former Gov. Jon Huntsman than with President Barrack Obama, but suggests the contrasts between him and Stewart are easy to spot.
One of those big differences is their view of health care reform, popularly known as Obamacare. Stewart says it needs to be repealed. Seegmiller thinks it should be improved, but not repealed.
Both stress the need for job growth in the state. Seegmiller's slogan is "Jay for Jobs" and his plan includes repatriating $2 trillion held overseas by American companies and bringing that money to the U.S. He likened the initiative to a private business stimulus for the economy.
"I'm very fiscally conservative. I'm not a big fan of raising taxes or fees. There has to be tremendous justification to do that," Seegmiller said.
Stewart says as a businessman he understands what it takes to create jobs. He suggests government best facilitates that process by not creating barriers for the private sector.
"Government interference makes it more difficult by overregulation and the uncertainty of the tax burden," Stewart said.
Another potential divide between the two is evident in the state's current challenge to federal control of land within the Beehive State. Stewart supports the effort and said Utah is at a disadvantage because it has so little control over most of the land within state borders. He suggests a fix to the problem most likely will come from Congress.
Seegmiller said state attorneys advised the Legislature not to move forward in challenging federal control of the land because they will likely lose any showdown in court.
"I believe the folks that voted for this wanted to send a message, and are willing to spend the money because it is not their money. It was irresponsible," Seegmiller said.
Seegmiller said as a moderate he tries to find balance. On the environment no one is going to be able to call him an extremist, but he said people need to be good stewards of the land.
Stewart said no one wants dirty air or water, He believes lawmakers have done a pretty good job of balancing the need for standards with the need not to over-regulate and hurt business.
The father of four, Seegmiller works as an engineer for Amtrak. He currently lives outside the new district buts owns property in Hurricane. He said he and his wife, Michelle, will move into the district after he is elected.
Some have likened Seegmiller's politics to those of Matheson. He does not run away from that description, but he said he is not beholden to any party or particular interest. He recognizes the voter registration is almost 2-1 against him in the district, but said he faced similar odds when he ran for the Utah House of Representatives in 2009 and beat the then-sitting speaker of the House.
"I'm a blue collar guy. I'm a working guy that understands working families," Seegmiller said. He stresses the need for jobs because he said many social problems are related to economic factors.
"There are a lot of people out of work and hurting and having to be on assistance. They don't want a handout, they want a job. We need to get these people back to work."
Stewart and his wife, Evie, are the parents of six children. He is running for Congress because of deeply held beliefs and principles.
"I can't run away from those principles," Stewart said. "People are looking for a message of hope. They want to be reminded of America's greatness. We can get this right. "