SALT LAKE CITY — Two United Utah Party candidates announced from the Utah Capitol steps Tuesday their plans to run against two Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Jan Garbett will challenge Rep. Chris Stewart for the 2nd Congressional District seat while Eric Eliason will try to oust 1st District Rep. Rob Bishop.
The fledgling United Utah Party formed last year and fielded Jim Bennett in the race to replace former 3rd District Rep. Jason Chaffetz in a special election in November. Former Provo Mayor John Curtis won that election. The United Utah Party seeks to use a "pragmatic approach" to governing, according to its platform.
Garbett says the people of Utah are ready for other choices on the ballot besides Republicans and Democrats.
"If they examine who I am, they'll realize I'm somebody they can trust," she said.
Garbett changed her party affiliation in 2016 from Republican to Democrat to run as gubernatorial candidate Vaughn Cook's running mate. They lost in the primary. She helped found the United Utah Party in 2017. Garbett and her husband, Bryson, own Garbett Homes. Bryson Garbett has served two terms as a Republican representing West Valley City in the Legislature.
"(The Democrats) weren't much interested in putting forth candidates that could appeal to a broader audience in Utah," said Garbett, adding that Republicans tend to get activists on the right who ignore what the majority of Utahns want when polled.7 comments on this story
In a political landscape where voters are often choosing between two extremes, Garbett says she wants to be "a voice of reason" and help Utah voters who don't fall into either extreme to get their voice back in Congress.
Eliason says he was inspired to run because he "felt like there wasn't a lot of various voices being heard" and "too much of our politics has been determined by campaign finance and where the special interest money is coming from."
The central points of his campaign are campaign finance reform and term limits, Eliason said.
The United Utah Party said it is announcing four more party candidates on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Utah County Courthouse.