Utah’s Third District Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz announced Wednesday that he will not seek reelection to his seat in 2018. Amid speculation of what could be next for Chaffetz and his district, Gov. Gary Herbert has announced that there will be a special election if the Congressman resigns early.
Chaffetz told the media Thursday that he has not ruled out the possibility of leaving office before January 2019. Herbert said that an early resignation would mean a hurried special election cycle.
“It says we will conduct a special election. That means we’ll conduct an election and we’ll go through the same process you would do for a regular election. It’ll be held at a different time of the year—that’s why extraordinary, that’s why it’s special,” Herbert said. “That means delegates will have to get together and they’ll have the convention process for anybody who wants to run, that may require a primary. Then, we’ll have a general, as it were, in a constricted time frame. But that’s if it happens. I’m hopeful that Congressman Chaffetz will stay there the rest of his term.”
Chaffetz chair the House Oversight Committee, which is tasked with being the House of Representatives’ investigative committee. Opponents have criticized Chaffetz for not looking into alleged ethical abuses by President Donald Trump’s administration.
One Republican who could succeed Chaffetz is current Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox. Herbert said that Cox would make a talented Congressman if he chose to run.
“I think that Spencer Cox is doing a great job as Lieutenant Governor. He’s an outstanding talent, he comes from rural Utah, he’s a business person, he’s an attorney and really has a wealth of experience in local government, he’s worked his way up and he’s doing it the right way,” he said. “He’s a talent no matter what he would decide to run for; whether it’s the Senate, whether it’s Congress, or whether he wants to run for Governor some future time. He hasn’t talked to me about it.”
Chaffetz was first elected to Congress in 2008.