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Brad Wilson to step down as Utah House speaker, edging toward US Senate bid

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 18, 2023

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Brad Wilson

SALT LAKE CITY — It looks like House Speaker Brad Wilson, a Kaysville Republican, will, in fact, be making a bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate next year.

He announced Monday morning that he’d be resigning his House seat and the speakership effective Nov. 15. He didn’t specify a reason, but he’s been exploring a bid for the Senate seat now held by Sen. Mitt Romney, and his exploratory committee press team subsequently issued a statement saying a “special announcement” would be coming from Wilson on Sept. 27.

“It’s time for a conservative fighter in the U.S. Senate,” reads a post on Wilson’s Facebook page regarding the Sept. 27 event. “Mark your calendar to join Jeni and me on Sept. 27th to get America back on track.”

Jeni is Wilson’s wife.

Wilson announced last April that he was officially mulling a bid for the Senate. Just last week, Romney, also a Republican, announced he wouldn’t seek reelection next year, and now comes word of Wilson’s “special announcement.”

That Wilson is seemingly on the verge of announcing his Senate aspirations perhaps is no surprise. He has $2.14 million in campaign funds on hand, including $1.2 million from his own pocket, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Last August, he announced that he had the backing in his possible Senate bid of 63 Utah House and Senate members.

Other Senate contenders include Trent Staggs, the Riverton mayor, though many other names have been mentioned.

Wilson, House speaker since January 2019, has held his House post since 2011, according to his legislative website. His day job is as chief executive officer of Newtown Development. In his statement announcing his plans to step down, he touted his efforts to make Utah “one of the strongest, best-managed and most business- and family-friendly states in the nation.”

GOP colleagues offered supportive words on learning of his announcement.

“I commend him for his service and dedication to the people of Utah. We will miss his presence at the Utah Legislature,” said Senate President Stuart Adams.

Democrats were tougher, blasting Wilson and his GOP colleagues for some of the measures passed under their leadership.

“From brutally gerrymandering our districts, to pushing through school vouchers, to relentlessly attacking trans kids, to ripping reproductive freedom away from thousands of Utah women, Wilson’s record, and the record of the Utah Republican Party, is one of right-wing extremism,” said a statement from the Utah Democratic Party. “As he embarks on a campaign for Senate, we will continue to remind Utahns of that record.”

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