Beginning Friday afternoon candidates hoping to fill Utah’s 3rd Congressional seat will begin filing to run in an election to replace Republic Representative Jason Chaffetz. It was announced this week that the Chairman of the House Governmental Oversight Committee will leave Congress, effective June 30.
Utah’s Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox says Governor Gary Herbert has directed him and his staff to begin working with municipal election officials in the district to prepare for the race to coincide with the scheduled Nov. 7 general lection.
“We like elections,” Cox said. “We’re good at elections and we look forward to this election. We know many candidates have already begun announcing their candidacies. We expect that many of them will start signing up to run for office later today”
The governor and legislators have been tussling over whether the state needs to pass emergency laws for a special election.
Utah's election law says that if a U.S. House seat becomes vacant, the governor will call a special election.
But the law offers few other details. Cox, says that allows the governor and the state elections office to fill in the other details, including a timeline.
“It is critical for us that we make sure that this process is fair for all candidates, all parties across the board,” Cox said. “The most important part is that we give the voters and opportunity to express their voice.”
Legislative leaders say they have the power to set election laws and argue Herbert should call them into an emergency session to spell out the special election process.