Special election planned to replace Jason Chaffetz; Utah County legislators announce candidacies | Government and Politics

With U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s announcement that he will resign from Congress on June 30, several people have thrown their hats in the ring to run for the seat, including three current Utah County legislators so far.

State Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, formally announced her candidacy for the 3rd Congressional District early Friday morning.

As a state senator, she said, she has experienced firsthand when the federal government has come in and dictated the state’s options.

“Washington, D.C. is far too powerful, and we need to elect members of Congress who understand that and who are willing to give some of that power back to the state, and back to the people where it belongs,” Henderson said in the video.

Henderson was elected to the state Senate in 2012, beginning her first term in 2013. She just won re-election for a second term in the 2016 election.

Henderson worked for Chaffetz during his first political campaign, including as political director and campaign manager after that.

Henderson previously said she was considering a run when Chaffetz first announced in April that he would not be seeking re-election in 2018.

State Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, took to Facebook on Thursday evening to announce that she would be running for the 3rd Congressional District seat.

A veteran legislator, Dayton spent ten years in the Utah House of Representatives, and has been a senator since 2007.

After serving for that long, her post said, she knows it is time to go to the source, Washington, D.C., to continue saying no to unconstitutional ideas.

“I hope my dedication to Firm Family Values, Strong States’ Rights, a Full Repeal of Obamacare and Free-Market Job Growth will encourage others who feel the same to become involved in this important election,” Dayton wrote on Facebook.

State Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, announced via press release Friday morning that he intends to seek Chaffetz’s seat as well.

Daw, a software engineer at Adobe, was first elected to the Utah Legislature in 2004, serving through 2012. He was elected again in 2014 and 2016.

Daw said in the press release that he believes it’s necessary to hold firmly to the principles of limited government, the sanctity of the family and the protection of God-given rights as outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

According to the press release, Daw would tackle genuine health care reform and advocate for returning power to state and local governments.

Provo Mayor John Curtis released a statement Thursday after Chaffetz’s announcement, saying he will come to a decision in the coming days about whether or not to run.

“As I’ve visited with and been encouraged by constituents in the Congressional District I’m feeling more and more like it’s the right thing to do,” Curtis said.

Curtis is currently serving his second term as Provo mayor, though he previously announced he would not seek that seat again.

Damian Kidd, a Republican attorney from American Fork, was the first to file for the seat. Kidd filed back in January, before Chaffetz made the announcement that he would not run again.

Running for an open seat, rather than as a challenger to Chaffetz, is a “different world” from the campaign he started, Kidd said, though he intends to continue with his campaign. 

Kathie Allen, a Democrat who launched her campaign in direct opposition to Chaffetz, says she will continue to run her campaign as she did before.

“We’ve already begun to meet with constituents,” Allen said as she was driving to Moab for a meet and greet Friday. “We want to get out our message. It is what it’s been all along, bringing integrity and ethics back to D.C.”

A special election to replace Chaffetz will be held to coincide with the state’s municipal elections on Nov. 7, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said at a press conference Friday morning. 

Candidates will be able to start filing with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office at 1 p.m. Friday through May 26, after which political parties will be able to hold conventions and primaries to select the final candidates for the ballot. 

The Associated Press reports that legislative leaders disagree with the governor’s take on the election process, and argue that the governor should call a special session for the Legislature to set election laws.  

Though the U.S. Constitution and Utah law say that if a U.S. House seat becomes vacant the governor should call a special election, the law offers few other specifics on the process, according to the AP.