On Monday, Congressman Rob Bishop officially announced he would not be running for re-election in 2020.
The Republican representative served in Utah’s First Congressional District since 2002. In 2012, he announced 2018-2020 would be his last term. Bishop told The Deseret News on Monday that deciding not to run had been a difficult because people were urging him to do so, but in the end, he chose to keep the promise he made to voters.
Before going to DC, Bishop served on the Utah State Legislature, which is where Cache County Sen. Lyle Hillyard first met him.
“I’ve always considered Rob a friend,” Hillyard said.
Hillyard was quick to point out that when he and Bishop ran for a House leadership position in the ‘80s, it was Hillyard who won and not Bishop. However, once Hillyard moved to the Senate, he said Bishop did move up in House leadership.
“We had a number of different bills we worked on together for Northern Utah,” Hillyard said.
According to Hillyard, the congressman did a tremendous job making sure the state’s voice was heard on a national level.
Cache County Republican Chair Chris Booth shared similar sentiments.
“First and foremost, a big thanks to him for his service. And not just to him, to his wife and his family. He has served Utah for a long time,” Booth said.
The Deseret News article announcing Bishop’s retirement stated that he was still considering whether or not to run in the race for Utah’s next governor. Both Hillyard and Booth said Bishop would do a good job as governor, but noted that the field seems like it will be very competitive.
The chair of the Cache County Democratic Party, Danny Beus, said he thinks it would be a waste of time for Bishop to put his hat in the ring.
“I really don’t think he can beat out Spencer Cox,” Beus said.
From a Democratic side, Beus said he and other county Democrats are very excited to see Bishop retire.
“He has been in Congress for too long and he was becoming more and more divisive,” Beus said. “We appreciate his service, but we are looking forward to a future in Congressional District One without Rob Bishop.”
Beus acknowledged that although it would be exceptionally hard for a Democrat to win this Utah district, he is hopeful that voter turnout will be in his party’s favor.
No matter what party the candidate is from, it is important to him that issues of immigration reform and climate change are addressed.
“Even though the average Utahn favors having immigration reform, our delegation in Washington has yet to do anything,” Beus said. “So it is important that somebody, whether they are a Republican, a Democrat, an independent or United Utah, it’s important that we have somebody who supports a complete overhaul of our immigration system.”
As of right now, Beus said he does not know of any Democratic candidates seriously considering the race, but he would love to see Lee Castillo run again.
On the Republican side, Booth said he has talked to a few people who are considering running. These include Katie Witt, the current mayor of Kaysville, and Tina Cannon, a member of the Morgan County Council.
If either of these women chose to run and won the election, they would be the fifth woman to serve Utah on a national level and the first woman from Northern Utah to go to Congress.
Booth said he would love to see someone from Cache County put their name forward.
Hillyard said he hadn’t heard of anyone seriously considering a run for the seat, but that he could confirm one name that would not be on the Congressional ballot in 2020.
“I won’t be running, I can tell you that,” Hillyard said.