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Is Former Utah Speaker Brad Wilson “Establishment”?

With a voting record showing divides in the conservative values he says he stands for, the former Utah Speaker of the House could face some questions during the senate primary race. 

Former Utah Speaker of the House Brad Wilson entered the senate race as Sen. Mitt Romney will be leaving his seat. Wilson, who resigned last year in order to run for Utah’s next U.S. Senator has  said he is a “Conservative fighter”, yet some wonder if Wilson is truly a conservative, or could he be a part of the establishment. 

Wilson’s history is full of moderate votes, pandering to both sides of the aisle. While he voted for some conservative issues, his record has shown that he has voted against conservatism in other ways. 

Wilson voted for a bill that both liberals and conservatives opposed back raised taxes on groceries, services, and gas. The bill Wilson supported was so unpopular that it led to a coalition between citizen activists on both sides to gather signatures for a voter referendum in 2020 before the legislature decided to repeal the law. 

In his last legislative session in 2023, he also voted for Children’s Health Insurance Program benefits for non-US citizen children in Utah, as well as a bill that would lead to instant runoff and ranked choice voting in the state that narrowly passed the House in a 38 to 36 vote. 

Wilson also voted for tax credits to the film industry, $20,000 to first-time homebuyers, and even utilizing taxpayer dollars to pay off student loans of veterinarians. 

Even his voting record scores do not appear to be conservative. For Libertas Institute, a center-right think tank in Utah, he only received an average score of 64 percent. A scorecard released by the magazine, The New American, by the think tank John Birch Society gave him at 60 percent. CPAC’s Center for Legislative Accountability also only gave Wilson an average score of 72 percent with his final score at 79 percent. 

Utah may rank #1 in the country for economic outlook, according to American Legislative Exchange Council’s Rich States, Poor States report and #1 overall ranking for U.S. News & World Report, but Wilson’s voting record could potentially turn off conservatives as he probably would continue to vote in a similar manner in the U.S. Senate. 

The former Speaker of the House is up against a large field of others vying for the coveted U.S. Senate seat, including Rep. John Curtis, Brent Orrin Hatch, Trent Staggs, Carolyn Phippen, Jason Walton and others. 


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