WASHINGTON — Utah Republican Representative Chris Stewart announced Wednesday that he plans to leave Congress before the end of his term due to his wife’s health.

Republicans have a slim majority in the House, and a brief vacancy could make it more difficult to pass legislation for the GOP leadership. Republicans currently have 222 members in the House; Democrats have 213.

In a statement, Stewart said he would step down after «an orderly transition can be ensured.»

“It has been one of the great honors of my life to serve the good people of Utah in Congress,” Stewart said in a statement. «My wife and I have made many dear friends and memories along our journey. I can proudly say that I have been an effective leader for my beloved home state and am honored to have played an important role in guiding our nation through some difficult times. But my wife’s health problems have made it necessary for me to withdraw from Congress after an orderly transition can be ensured.»

He added: «My family and I have been so blessed by this experience. Thank you to everyone who has supported us and sacrificed to help us. The fight continues. God bless you all and God bless our nation.»

Stewart did not specify what is wrong with his wife’s health.

Stewart, 62, has served in the House since 2013, representing Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, and currently serves on the House Intelligence and Appropriations Committees.

Utah law requires Gov. Spencer Cox to call a special election for the seat, which represents the western part of the state, including Salt Lake City.

Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson posted a thread on twitter on Tuesday explaining the process to fill the position.

The seat will almost certainly remain in Republican hands. Utah is a deeply conservative state, and the congressional delegation is all-Republican. Stewart defeated his Democratic rival in the 2022 election by nearly 26 percentage points.