Tags: chaffetz.special election

Chaffetz Exit Means Another Special House Race in 2017

Chaffetz Exit Means Another Special House Race in 2017
(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

By Monday, 22 May 2017 08:30 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The surprise announcement last week by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R--Utah, that he will resign from Congress on June 30 to take a job with Fox News had a direct impact on politics within the Beehive State and in Washington, D.C.

In terms of national politics, the results of Chaffetz’s decision to call it quits are twofold.

First, House Republicans will have to select a replacement for Chaffetz as chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

Second, the special election (which be held Nov. 7, the same day Utah voters elect city and town officials) will be the sixth such contest to fill a House vacancy in 2017. No matter what the makeup of a district, special House elections are historically competitive because the out-of-power party can focus most of its resources on the one contest in the nation.

Utah’s 3rd District is no exception. Although the district has been in Republican hands for all but eight years since it was created in 1982, physician and Democrat Kathryn Allen is considered a formidable contender. Already she has raised $564,000 with the intention of running against Chaffetz.

Last week, Allen made it clear she was contesting the special election.

Among Republicans, the waters are uncertain. Until this year, their nominees in Utah were selected by conventions. A primary would be held only if candidates got a certain percentage of the convention delegates.

This is their first-ever nomination contest in which candidates can get on the primary ballot either through petitions or the convention. Under the new election law, a candidate wanting to run for Congress in the 3rd District can either seek nomination at a districtwide convention or get on the primary ballot by collecting 7,000 signatures between May 26 and June 17. (The Republican convention will be held June 19 and the primary on Aug. 15).

Conservatives generally believe that Boyd Matheson, former top aide to Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee and now president of the Sutherland Institute, could have the nomination if he wants it. But sources close to Matheson told Newsmax he is far more likely to focus on a bid for the seat now held by GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch in 2018.

In a state that has only sent three women to Congress, the early front-runners for nomination are both women: State Sen. Deidre Henderson, onetime campaign manager for Chaffetz, and veteran State Sen. Margaret Dayton. The other contenders are State Rep. Brad Dew and Provo Mayor John Curtis.

All are considered strong conservatives in the mold of Chaffetz.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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The surprise announcement last week by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R--Utah, that he will resign from Congress on June 30 to take a job with Fox News had a direct impact on politics within the Beehive State and in Washington, D.C.
chaffetz.special election
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2017-30-22
Monday, 22 May 2017 08:30 AM
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