Chaffetz resigns: What’s next for Utah?

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Jason Chaffetz’s decision to leave his term on June 30 puts Utah in a difficult position. 

“The issues are complex. It’s not just a simple thing to decide,” Gov. Herbert said. 

Utah election code requires Governor Herbert to issue a special election, but how it should be done is up to interpretation of vague language. 

Gov. Herbert wants candidates to have a direct path to the primary, where candidates can gather signatures to get on the ballot. In a press conference held in his home Thursday, Chaffetz said he supports Governor Herbert’s process that could take up to four months to fill his empty seat. 

“I understand the importance of getting it done quickly, as opposed to taking too much time. I also believe that we need to get it right, which trumps doing it quick,” Gov. Herbert said.

“In that 180 day process, half of Utah for one-fourth of the term is not represented in the House of Representatives. In my opinion, I think there is a travesty in the process,” Dan McCay said, (R) Dist. 41.

On this week’s Inside Utah Politics, McCay disagrees with Gov. Herbert’s proposal, arguing lawmakers should gather in a special session to create new special election guidelines with a structured timeline.

“Otherwise, the governor is acting in a position extra statutory and in my opinion, that puts him on very weak legal footing,” McCay said.

Meanwhile, candidates are already gunning for the empty seat. 

On Friday, clean air activist Carl Ingwell will announce his run in District 3. 

Salt Lake City physician, Dr. Kathryn Allen is running as a democrat. 

American Fork attorney Damian Kidd announced in January he will run for the seat as a republican. 

Provo Mayor John Curtis tweeted he is “seriously considering” a run on Thursday. 

Inside Utah Politics airs Sunday morning at 8:00.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...