Former writer-in-residence for Westminster College Kael Weston will appear on the November ballot for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District after winning a majority vote in the Utah Democratic Party’s Convention Saturday.
Weston received 83% majority vote, defeating Randy Hopkins (16%) and Larry Livingston (1%). Because he received more than 60% of the vote from delegate during the convention, Weston will avoid the June primary and go straight to the general election Nov. 3.
“I am honored that delegates selected me as the Democratic nominee in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District,” Weston said in a statement. “Your support made all the difference, enabling us to achieve a win with 83% support in a digital Democratic party convention that had record-breaking participation.”
The convention was held virtually for the first time in the party’s history, with an 85% voting rate among delegate — which is an increase from roughly 50% over recent years, according to Jeff Merchant, chair of the Utah Democratic Party.
Despite the virtual convention, Merchant said the convention was the “fastest and most efficient election” the party has seen.
Weston will face Republican incumbent Rep. Chris Stewart, fighting to overturn the seat from red to blue.
“I love this district,” Weston said. “Republicans gerrymandered it hoping that a Democrat couldn’t win here, but I’m a Democrat who can win. I wouldn’t change the boundaries of the district—at all.”
Weston represented the U.S. for over a decade in the State Department, spending seven of those years in Iraq and Afghanistan. He said he believes this has given him significant experience to represent the 2nd District.
“The result shows real momentum and that Utah Democrats are unified in bringing back serious governing in these serious times,” Weston said.
“I believe I am the right Democrat, a candidate focused on the needs of the district’s diverse residents. Like many Americans, Utahns are hurting right now.”