- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 5, 2016

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The race for U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart’s congressional seat heated up with a spirited debate against his Democratic opponent on Tuesday night.

Businesswoman Charlene Albarran challenged Stewart’s opposition to a proposed national monument in southern Utah and said the Republican congressman has done little during his time in Washington.

“He’s actually missed 66 votes and hasn’t passed a single bill,” she said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Stewart countered that he’s voted 3,000 times and his only absences came when he needed to be with his family.

Albarran said the issue of protecting the land’s archaeological sites, cliff dwellings and petroglyphs carries national and global weight. Stewart, though, countered that many people in Utah are against the proposed Bears Ears monument and her support shows she’s out of touch.

Stewart questioned whether Albarran knows local voters, pointing to her home outside the 2nd Congressional District in the tony, generally Democratic-leaning Park City.

“Are you one of us?” Stewart said, according to the Deseret News.

Albarran responded that she now lives in Salt Lake City most of the time, and an in-district home isn’t required for members of the House of Representatives.

The two also clashed over presidential candidates during the University of Utah debate. Albarran criticized her opponent’s endorsement of Donald Trump, who is less than popular in Utah despite the state’s conservative bent. Stewart shot back, calling Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a liar.

The candidates also debated whether Congress can do much to improve race relations and how to balance LGBT rights with religious beliefs.

Albarran is a statistical analyst with Idaho Power who’s originally from Pocatello, Idaho. Stewart is a former Air Force pilot and author who was first elected in 2012.

They’re vying for the 2nd Congressional District. It covers a large portion of the state, including most of Salt Lake City west to the Nevada border and south to the Arizona border.

The district is heavily Republican, and the two-term Stewart has won both his races with more than 60 percent of the vote.

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