|Intro||American author, businessman, and politician|
|Is||Politician Businessperson Historian Author Writer Novelist Business executive|
|From||United States of America|
|Type||Business Literature Politics Social science|
|Birth||15 July 1960, Logan, Cache County, Utah, USA|
Christopher Douglas Stewart (born July 15, 1960) 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 the President and CEO of the Shipley Group. His time in Congress has been marked by his efforts to defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), his denial of climate change and vigorous defense of President Donald Trump. Stewart is defending his seat in the 2020 election against Democratic candidate Kael Weston and Libertarian candidate J. Robert Latham.
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.
Stewart graduated from Sky View High School in 1978 and entered Utah State University in the fall of the same year. After a year in college, Stewart served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Texas. After his church service, Stewart re-entered Utah State University, and in 1984 earned a degree in economics from its College of Business.
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 top of his class in both instances. Stewart flew both helicopters and jet aircraft during his time in the military.
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 non-stop flight around the world. Stewart was the senior project officer for this mission. The purpose of the mission was to demonstrate the capability of the B-1 Lancer with live bombing activity over three bombing ranges on three continents in two hemispheres. In the process, the team set three world records, flying 36,797.65 kilometers in 36 hours 13 minutes. The mission was recounted in the book Supersonic Saints: Thrilling Stories from LDS Pilots.
Private sector career
After his military career, Stewart turned to the private sector. He was the president and CEO of the Shipley Group, a consulting company that specializes in energy and environmental issues. Shipley also participates in government anti-terrorism training, corporate security and executive preparedness consulting. He sold his majority ownership in Shipley Group in December 2012 prior to being sworn in as a U.S. congressman.
Stewart first began writing books in the late nineties. His first novel, Shattered Bone, was published in 1998. 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, and Beck's coverage is credited with the book becoming a bestseller. Stewart has written fourteen books. He has worked with Elizabeth Smart to co-write her memoir, My Story. In 2005, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed A Christmas Bell for Anya, which he co-authored with his wife Evie.
U.S. House of Representatives
On October 21, 2011, Utah Policy wrote that Stewart was going to run for Congress in Utah's 2nd congressional district. His formal announcement took place on December 6, 2011.
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 stated his belief that "at critical times in our history... we literally had miracles where God intervened to save us."
On April 21, 2012, at a controversial nominating convention, Stewart secured the Republican nomination. Prior to 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. A subsequent party inquiry showed no proof of wrongdoing by any candidate.
Stewart won the general election with 62% of the vote, defeating Jay Seegmiller, and took office on January 3, 2013.
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.
In the 2016 election, Stewart faced Charlene Albarran, a business owner. Stewart defeated Albarran with 62% of the vote.
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. On Election Night, Stewart won with 56% of the vote.
UtahPolicy.com reported the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considers Stewart potentially vulnerable to a strong opponent, due to Donald Trump's unpopularity in the 2nd District, and Stewart's record of vigorously defending him.
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.)
Stewart will face Kael Weston, a former State Department employee, in the general election in November.
Stewart was chairman of the House Sub-Committee on the Environment.
In 2016, Stewart introduced a bill to allow unused Ebolavirus funding to research and combat the Zika virus. The proposal was adopted as part of a separate bill the next year, Zika Response Appropriations Act, a bill to shift $622 million in unused Ebola funding to fight the Zika virus.
A July 2019 poll showed Stewart with the lowest approval rating of any Utah congressperson.
- United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- Republican Study Committee
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch
- Anti-Socialism Caucus, Chair
- Congressional Western Caucus
- United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
- U.S.-Japan Caucus
|Year||Republican||Votes||Pct||Democrat||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|2012||Chris Stewart||154,523||62||Jay Seegmiller||83,176||33||Jonathan D. Garrard||Constitution||5,051||2||Joseph Andrade||Independent||2,971||1||Charles Kimball||Independent||2,824||1|
|2014||Chris Stewart||88,915||61||Luz Robles||47,585||33||Shaun McCausland||Constitution||4,509||3||Wayne Hill||Independent American||3,328||2||Bill Barron||Independent||1,734||1|
|2016||Chris Stewart||170,524||62||Charlene Albarran||93,778||34||Paul McCollaum Jr.||Constitution||12,517||5|
|2018||Chris Stewart||151,489||56||Shireen Ghorbani||105,051||39||Jeffrey Whipple||Libertarian||13,504||5|
According to Stewart's website, since arriving in Congress, he has "consistently supported efforts to defund and repeal Obamacare." He co-sponsored the Defund Obamacare Act of 2013 and voted 40 times 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 the place of Obamacare, Stewart supported the American Healthcare Reform Act.
Stewart rejects the idea that climate change is being caused by human activities. In 2013, he wrote an opinion piece for the Salt Lake Tribune in which he claimed that "the science regarding climate change is anything but settled"; that "there is uncertainty regarding to what degree man is to blame for global warming"; and that to implement proposed solutions to climate change, the cost would be in the "trillions of dollars".
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 (EPA) 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, and 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 interests and restrict scientists' ability to provide proper advice to the government.
Stewart has a 3% lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
During the 2012 election 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."
Stewart supports simplifying the tax code, lowering the corporate tax rate, and eliminating the death tax. Stewart voted for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (Trump tax cut)
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 carried by federal agents, he also sponsored a bill (H.R. 4934) to demilitarize federal regulatory agencies.
Stewart is considered one of President Trump's most steadfast defenders in Congress. For instance, after Trump stated 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." 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 regards to a U.S. election.
According to political polling and reporting website FiveThirtyEight, Stewart's votes aligned with Trump's positions around 95% of the time. Stewart was reportedly under consideration to serve in the Trump administration as acting Director of National Intelligence, but Richard Grenell was ultimately chosen instead.
Previously, during the 2016 Republican Primary election, Stewart had been critical of Trump. Addressing an audience at the Hinckley Institute of Politics, Stewart compared him to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, and said "if some of you are Donald Trump supporters, we see the world differently, because I can't imagine what someone is thinking."
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.
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.
After the release of the report, Stewart accused the "former leadership" of the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the CIA of "astounding" corruption, without providing any further 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 opening of the Mueller investigation.
Stewart was the only member of Congress from Utah to question Mueller during his appearance before Congress on July 24, 2019. Stewart confronted Mueller about leaks that he asserted came from Mueller's office and were allegedly "designed to weaken or embarrass" President Trump. Others, including Washington, D.C.-area media reporters, considered Mueller's office an unlikely source of the leaks.
Ukraine scandal and impeachment inquiry
Stewart has defended Trump's actions with regards 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 stated "the coup has started," but later declined to clarify his remark.
During the impeachment hearings, Stewart repeatedly defended Trump's behavior, criticized witnesses whose testimony implicated Trump in wrongdoing, and criticized the impeachment process. Stewart 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.
When Trump called for Senator Mitt Romney's "impeachment" and Stewart was asked for comment, Stewart declined to defend Romney. Romney had expressed support for the committee's inquiry. (Senators cannot be impeached.)
On December 18, 2019, Stewart voted against both articles of impeachment against Trump. Of the 195 Republicans Representatives who voted, all voted against both impeachment articles.