At his monthly press event at KUED, Governor Herbert opened the briefing with the main topic of the day, dealing with the resignation of Utah’s Jason Chaffetz in Congressional District 3. That leaves open the first congressional seat in Utah since 1929 and allows political hopefuls living in that district to run for their dreams of “making a difference” for the Beehive State while working in an increasingly dysfunctional Washington, D.C. Various rumors exist about the reason behind Mr. Chaffetz’ decision to leave early, but many have theorized that the congressman is taking the advice of Navy Admiral McCraven’s newest book, “Make Your Bed.”
Governor Herbert made it very clear that he had focused on four guideposts: First, the constitutions of the United States and Utah, both; Second, legal compliance to the laws found in our society; Third, that there will be integrity in the process and finally but not least important, that voter participation is involved. This, in the form of participatory democracy as opposed to a political appointment as many of the state’s power players were poised and positioned to advance. When asked about a timeline on when and how that effort would be organized, the Governor indicated that would depend on the congressman’s decision to announce a specific date for his departure from Washington and the halls of congress.
Later that same day, Thursday, Chaffetz’ office released a statement that the congressman would leave his cot and office in Washington at the end of June. Then the following day, Friday, Utah’s Lieutenant Governor, Spencer Cox, convened a press conference to announce the timeline details of the Congressional District 2’s special election. Candidates will be allowed to declare their intentions for the next week with a probable primary being held August 15 while the general election will be held on November 7 – an attempt by the office to include the race with already planned elections Video available here.
When asked about the potential for a political convention organized in Utah’s CD3 and the inherent conflict involved with HB54 mandating a signature gathering process in addition to the delegate process where only republicans would be involved, the Governor indicated that “What I really don’t like is a convention where you could have 50 percent plus one,” an obvious reference to the state’s delegate process which many have criticized as being too inbred and exclusive.
“I want to correct the narrative,” said Herbert, “that the legislature has not had a say. They have, in fact, had input.” The governor made it clear that ultimately the voters in CD3 would be the deciders.