With a special election scheduled to replace outgoing Rep. Jason Chaffetz, several Republican candidates wasted no time in launching their campaigns this weekend at the Utah GOP’s organizing convention in Sandy.
Among the booths for members of Congress and party officers, prospective candidates for Utah’s 3rd District seat set up tables with big banners and signs.
Most had just declared their candidacy the day before, after Chaffetz gave notice that he would be leaving office at the end of June.
State Sen. Deidre Henderson, who some consider to be a front runner to replace Rep. Chaffetz, handed out tote bags and fielded questions on the floor. When asked by one man how she would protect herself from becoming part of the “swamp,” i.e. Washington, Henderson said her tenure in Congress would not last forever.
“Jason said it best when he was running...he said, ‘I want to get in and serve and get out.’ And that’s what he’s done, and that’s what I would intend to do as well," she said. "I don’t intend to be there for a long time.”
Two other GOP state lawmakers had booths on Saturday. State Rep. Brad Daw, who represents Orem, and Sen. Margaret Dayton of Provo spoke to prospective delegates, whose support they’ll need to advance to the special election on November 7.
Chandler Whipple is a GOP delegate from Salt Lake County. He said he’s still figuring out who he’ll support.
“I’ve only met so far with Margaret Dayton and Deidre Henderson,” he said. “I’m impressed with both of them, I think they’ve both got the necessary grit from what I’ve [heard], but I’ve only been here a few minutes.”
Delegates won’t have much time to make up their mind. The Utah GOP announced a special convention for the 3rd District on June 17 at Timpview High School, where they'll select their nominee to replace Chaffetz.