Congressional candidates vying to replace Utah Congressman Chris Stewart gathered in Washington County for another debate. This debate comes exactly one month before the primary election takes place on September 5, 2023.

As a quick reminder, here’s the three Republican candidates who are running.

Here’s some key topics touched on during the debate that you should know about.

Becky Edwards Didn’t Participate in the Debate

Despite this debate taking place in a very active section of Congressional District 2 (the section of Utah they would represent), Candidate Becky Edwards did not participate in today’s debate.

Some have theorized that Edwards was not confident in winning over Washington County since many residents of Southern Utah believe her to be a Democrat, but bear in mind that none of this has been confirmed.

Conservation of Natural Resources and Public Lands

Conservation of resources, such as water, and the issue of the federal government taking custody of state-owned lands (public lands) was another hot topic.

Maloy believes that her experience working with the water conservation district will be beneficial to congress and emphasized that there are no federal water laws, only state water laws, and it needs to stay that way.

Hough believes there are ways to divert surplus water from other counties to Washington County, along with continuing efforts with the Lake Powell pipeline.

Too Much Spending? Or Not Enough Spending?

Questions regarding spending habits on the federal level were brought up. Has the federal government spent too much since the pandemic? Or are there more issues that require the use of such a level of spending?

Hough believes the government needs to spend less, and that’s non-negotiable, but what he is willing to work on is just how much less spending needs to be done overall.

Maloy is also of the opinion that federal spending has gotten too far out of hand, and federal polices should not bleed into state policies, and that state issues should be handled on the state level. Including spending for state related issues.

Liberal Views Creeping into Education

Maloy believes Congress has the power to defund the agencies that are regulating liberal view points taught in schools, and that the federal government should not have the power to force a view point on a child.

Hough feels the same, and said if he had the choice, he would get rid of the Department of Education. Reiterating the same points that Maloy made.

Maloy also said the Department of Education should not have the power to force opinions into children’s heads. That should be a job for the child and the child’s parents.

Comments on Becky Edwards

Hough said that unlike Edwards, he and Maloy are participating in this debate.

While Maloy didn’t comment on Edward’s absence, she emphasized her various endorsements and her experience as an attorney. Maloy also said she has a large amount of experience of working with Southern Utah on a local level.

Audience Question Highlights

Members of the audience were able to ask questions for the two participating candidates at the debate. Here are some highlights.

“Is Joe Biden an illegally-elected President of the United States?”

Maloy said no, and the reason she took that stance is because if she said yes, then that would be the same as telling the citizens that their votes don’t matter.

Hough emphasized the same point. He did say there was some very strange policies that made things look shadier than they actually were.

“What would you do to fight against the weaponization of Republicans and Christian Values?”

Maloy said that nobody should be abused by their own government for believing in certain values.

Hough said this is why it’s important to vote for those that you believe in, and that your vote can change this trend.

Maloy Ends with Defending Her Candidacy

Maloy said that her candidacy has been put through the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, and has been cleared as legal.

She also said that she needs to be a part of congress, and not because she lives in Southern Utah, but because of what she’s accomplished in Southern Utah.


As a final reminder, the primary election will take place on September 5 with Becky Edwards, Bruce Hough, and Celeste Maloy taking their places on the ballot.

Please go out and vote with the utmost confidence in your choice by staying well informed.

Ballots will be available starting August 15.

If you’d like to see the full debate, you can find the livestream here. (The livestream suffered various audio issues, so please bear that in mind as you watch.)

August 2023 Congressional Debate

Celeste Maloy, Bruce Hough, Becky Edwards(Not Present)

More From KDXU 890 & 92.5