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Mayor Staggs calls on Utah Senate candidates not to support Sen. Mitch McConnell as leader
Trent Staggs, mayor of Riverton, Utah (photo used with permission)

Mayor Staggs calls on Utah Senate candidates not to support Sen. Mitch McConnell as leader

Mayor Trent Staggs, one of several candidates vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in Utah soon to be vacated by retiring Sen. Mitt Romney, has called on his primary opponents to promise new Senate Republican leadership if they're elected.

This week, Staggs will email his primary rivals — Rep. John Curtis, Jeremy Friedbaum, Brent Hatch, Brian Jenkins, Carolyn Phippen, Josh Randall, Chandler Tanner, Jason Walton, Clark White, and Brad Wilson — inviting them to sign his pledge not to vote for longtime Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), currently serving a seventh term, to be the Republican Senate leader in 2025 and beyond. The pledge suggests that McConnell has abdicated his legislative responsibilities regarding "constitutionally mandated federalism" and "enacting conservative policy."

"We believe it is time to elect America First leadership who are committed to limiting the power of the federal government," the pledge reads. Any candidate who signs it therefore promises to support "new leadership" and not to back McConnell for "Senate majority or minority leader."

Screenshot of pledge sent to Blaze News

As might be expected, Staggs, the mayor of Riverton, Utah, has already signed the pledge, claiming that candidates ought to make clear where they "stand" on the issue of party leadership.

"The Washington establishment has failed us. Utah deserves a Senator willing to push back on the establishment and get things done," Staggs said in a statement given to Blaze News. "I am asking the entire field of candidates in Utah to come together and commit to not support McConnell, but rather support America first leadership that believes in the principles of federalism. We owe it to the voters to let them know where we stand."

Whether any of his primary opponents will agree to it, though, is yet uncertain. Blaze News reached out to each of the candidates whose name appears on the pledge, asking them whether they intend to support Sen. McConnell as leader if they are elected in November. Six candidates issued a statement, which are included below in full.

Clark White wrote: "I believe anyone who's been in longer than 12 years in politics needs to be removed. They are not in there for the American people. For far too long we have been swindled and stolen from."

Carolyn Phippen said: "I will not support Mitch McConnell in Senate leadership, unequivocally."

Chandler Tanner stated:

While I appreciate the skilled leadership Sen. McConnell has provided in the Senate over the past two decades, it would be premature to make a commitment to a vote for GOP leadership at this time. McConnell has not even indicated yet whether he will stand for leadership in the next Congress. In November, I'll weigh the relevant factors, including age and health concerns, to decide what vote best prioritizes Utah's unique concerns and needs.

Josh Randall told Blaze News:

I will not vote for Mitch McConnell as Senate Republican leader. In 39 years of his time in the Senate I don't believe he has done enough to change the established culture of spending that has mired us in $34 trillion of debt. He has been too much a part of that establishment. I hope to see many new Senators with a more similar fiscal mindset to Mike Lee or Rand Paul replacing McConnell and some of the other more tenured Senators.

I'm also concerned about his health and the repeated "zoning out" episodes that he has been dealing with. I think he has helped accomplish some good things during his time in the Senate, i.e. I'm grateful Neil Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court and not Merrick Garland. But I hope to see a new generation Senator replace Mitch McConnell in the near future. There is no shame in resigning at age 81 after 39 years of service.

Jason Walton said: "I will only vote for new, constitutionalist Senate leadership. It’s time to end Mitch McConnell’s era of big government, personal favors, and crony capitalism."

Rep. John Curtis gave Blaze News the following statement:

Utahns are asking me what I’m doing about our southern border, inflation, energy prices, and combating foreign adversaries like China. That’s where I’m focused.

I don’t think anybody knows who the candidates will be for Republican Leader next year. I’ll work with whoever helps Utah's interests. Who knows, maybe I’ll throw my name into the mix.

A message sent to the email address listed on a previous campaign filing for Brian "Abe Lincoln" Jenkins was returned with the message that the domain name does not exist.

The Utah primary election will be held on Super Tuesday, which is just a few weeks away.

Editor's note: This article was updated to include a statement from Rep. John Curtis, Chandler Tanner, and Carolyn Phippen and to add Brad Wilson's name to the list of recipients.

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Cortney Weil

Cortney Weil

Sr. Editor, News

Cortney Weil is a senior editor for Blaze News.
@cortneyweil →