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KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking GOP candidates in race for Utah’s open US House seat

Jun 13, 2024, 7:39 AM

SALT LAKE CITY — From a crowded debate stage, five GOP candidates battling for Utah’s open 3rd District House seat made their case to voters Wednesday, capping off a busy three days of Republican debates ahead of the June 25 primary election.

Focusing on claims about the economy, the KSL Investigators got to work fact-checking statements from the candidates: Roosevelt Mayor J.R. Bird, John Dougall, state lawmaker Mike Kennedy, businessman Case Lawrence and attorney Stewart Peay.

Here’s what the KSL Truth test revealed:

  1. Stewart Peay, an Iraq War veteran, made this claim about Congress: “The last time we had a balanced budget, Congress was made up of approximately 70% veterans.”

The KSL Investigators reviewed White House historical tables showing the last time the nation had a balanced budget was from 1998 through 2001. When Congress passed the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, 186 members – about 35% of a total 535 lawmakers – were veterans, according to a Brookings Institution compilation of vital statistics in Congress. Veteran representation in Congress continued to decline after that.

Peay’s campaign told KSL after the debate that he mistakenly referenced data from the wrong year.

A spokesperson for Peay’s campaign wrote in a statement: “His larger point still stands: Utah’s delegation has no current member that has served in the military, and Stewart is the only candidate in this race who has served his country.

  1. In making a case that President Joe Biden’s administration has not properly addressed inflation, Case Lawrence made this claim about inflation: “The result was the worst inflation in 50 years.”

In reality, inflation in the last 50 years was actually highest in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At that time, inflation hovered around 12% and 13%, according to numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics leaving out food and energy prices, which tend to be more volatile. Soaring inflation in 2022 was an issue not just in the U.S., but globally, and has dipped since then.

See more from the debate here.


Have you experienced something you think just isn’t right? The KSL Investigators want to help. Submit your tip at investigates@ksl.com or 385-707-6153 so we can get working for you.

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KSL Truth Test: Fact-checking GOP candidates in race for Utah’s open US House seat