Former Air Force pilot Chris Stewart may have won the Republican nod in Utah's new 2nd District, but his nomination has been surrounded by drama.
Stewart, who faced 10 opponents for the party's nomination, clinched it over the weekend only after Eureka Mayor Milt Hanks took to the podium and accused four of his opponents of conspiring against Stewart, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Hanks claimed that they were behind an anonymous mailer sent out to delegates a mere three days before the convention, which alleged that Stewart lied about his military record and that his campaign was funded in part by federal stimulus dollars.
All four Republicans immediately denied Hanks's allegations and said that Hanks, who was a late entrant in the race and raised just $1,700 for his campaign, was planted by Stewart's campaign to secure the nomination. Both Stewart and Hanks deny any collaboration, though Hanks's last-minute speech did play a part in Stewart's victory; many delegates changed their votes and ended up backing Stewart after Hanks concluded his speech, the Tribune reported.
"It's ridiculous, isn't it?" Stewart said to the Tribune. "If someone is going to make accusations against our campaign, they should have some evidence, and there just isn't any."