Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) officially submitted his resignation letter from Congress on Wednesday, announcing that he will leave his seat on Sept. 15. He announced late last month that he will resign his House seat to focus on his wife’s health.

In a letter to Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R), Stewart wrote that representing Utah’s 2nd District has been one of the “great honors” of his life and that he and his family were “very blessed by this experience.”

Cox’s office confirmed that Stewart has officially submitted his resignation.

“Rep. Stewart has represented our state with integrity and dedication, and we’re grateful for the honorable way he’s executed his duties and represented the people of our great state,” Cox said in a statement Wednesday.

Per Utah law, Stewart’s resignation will spark a special election, the winner of which will fill the remainder of his term.

In its statement, Cox’s office said the state will hold primary elections on Sept. 5 and a general election on Nov. 21 to minimize the amount of time that Stewart’s House seat will be vacant and accommodate municipal elections in Utah. Cox, through a proclamation, called for a special session of the Utah legislature to appropriate money for the elections and change the municipal election dates. The special session will be held June 14, according to Cox’s office.

“This timeline will ensure a smooth and efficient transition with minimal disruption to our electoral process,” Cox said.

In a statement, state Senate President J. Stuart Adams (R) and state House Speaker Brad Wilson (R) confirmed that the timeline had been set.

“With Congressman Stewart resigning, it only makes sense to fill the position as quickly as possible” Adams said.

Wilson added, “I have the utmost respect and admiration for Congressman Stewart and wish him and his family good health and happiness.”

Stewart was first elected to Congress in 2012. First reports of his resignation came as lawmakers were gathering votes for a bipartisan budget agreement bill to suspend the debt ceiling and limit federal spending.

“I can say with pride that I have been an effective leader for my beloved home state, and I’m honored to have played an important role in guiding our nation through some troubled times,” Stewart said in a statement posted on social media on May 31. “But my wife’s health concerns have made it necessary that I retire from Congress after an orderly transition can be assured.”

It’s been one of the great honors of my life to represent Utah in the People’s House.

God bless you all, and God bless America.

— Rep. Chris Stewart (@RepChrisStewart) May 31, 2023

The Salt Lake Tribune was the first to report on Stewart’s pending departure.

Stewart did not detail the medical issues his wife, Evie, is facing.

Stewart’s departure would reduce the GOP’s already-slim majority in the House — 222 seats to Democrats’ 213. Currently, if Democrats oppose a piece of legislation, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) can afford to lose only four votes from his caucus.

Stewart, a retired Air Force pilot, represents Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Salt Lake City. He and his wife have six children.

Stewart, who serves on the Appropriations and Intelligence committees, has won handily in the Republican-leaning district since he was first elected in 2012. In 2022, Stewart defeated Democrat Nick Mitchell by more than 25 points. All of Utah’s four House seats, as well as its two Senate seats, are held by Republicans.

Stewart spent 14 years as a pilot in the Air Force, flying rescue helicopters and the B-1B bomber, and he holds three world speed records, including the record for the fastest nonstop flight around the world. He also is an author who has written 17 books.

Recently, he has been a proponent of legislation that would limit minors’ access to social media, including a bill that would ban anyone under the age of 16 from using such apps.

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