DemDaily: The Sixth Seat

May 31, 2017

A sixth 2017 special election is now on the books - Utah's Third Congressional District, being vacated by five-term Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who will be resigning from Congress on June 30th.

The "decision to return to the private sector" mid-term by Chaffetz, still a potential 2020 gubernatorial
contender, came as a surprise, fueling speculation of a pre-emptive exit to avoid further damage under Trump and the ongoing, escalating, Russian investigations.

Jason Chaffetz became a symbol of public discontent over repeal of Obamacare after he suggested, in a townhall meeting, that uninsured Americans spend money on their own health care "rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love."  

As Chair of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Chaffitz drew significant criticism for his handlings of the investigations of Hillary Clinton in 2015 and Michael Flynn at the onset of the Russia probe this year.

The Third CD, which Chaffetz has held since 2008, covers portions of Salt Lake and Utah counties as well as Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan, and Wasatch counties. In the 2016 presidential Trump won the CD 47% to HRC's 23%, with 19% going to Utah native Evan McMullin.

Fifteen Republicans, 4 Democrats, 2 Independent American and 1 Libertarian candidate have filed to run in the Utah special election. The Republican and Democratic parties will hold their nominating conventions June 17th, and their respective nominees, along with qualifying independent candidates, will run in the August 15th special primary election. The winner of the subsequent November 7th general election, held the same day as municipal primaries, will be seated by the U.S. House for a term that ends December 31, 2018.

Pending: Jim Bennett, son of former US Senator Bob Bennett (R) and head of the newly formed, "centrist" Utah United Party, filed as his party's candidate - but because state officials had not completed verification of the party's formation application prior to the May 19th candidate filing deadline, Bennett did not qualify. Bennett is appealing but, if unsuccessful, will run as an unaffiliated candidate.

Utah's Third CD

Unaffiliated or independent candidates, who do not run as a member of a recognized political party, have until June 12th to gather the required 7,000 registered voter signatures to file with the state's election office.

Republicans contenders include, among others:
State Senators Deidre Henderson and Margaret Dayton, State Representatives Chris Herrod and Brad Daw, Provo City Mayor John Curtis, and Tanner Ainge, son of Boston Celtics President Danny Ainge.

Democrats include:
Kathie Allen, 63, physician, Cottonwood Heights. Campaign activist and one-time congressional aide to late Congresswoman Shirley Pettis (D-CA).
Ben Frank, 29, mental health worker and activist from Cottonwood Heights. Former Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer.
Carl Ingwell, 36, Wind Farm Biologist from Monticello. Founded CleanAirNow! and University of Utah Student Clean Air Network.
Faeiza Javed, 25, mental health therapist from Murray. Vice Chair, Salt Lake County Democratic Party.

The Count
The first two of the 2017 Special Elections, Kansas and Montana, resulted in victories for the GOP - but both by only single-digit margins in traditionally solid Republican seats where Trump beat Clinton by more than 20% in the presidential.

Although the losses don't bring Democrats any closer to the 24 seats they need to retake control of the House in 2018, the narrowing numbers to-date provide Dems with ample fodder to prove the growing public discontent with Trump's presidency - now at mere 49.7% approval rating (RCP 5/1-5/29).

Remaining 2017 Special Elections
Congressional District (CD) Incumbent Election Date Democratic
Republican Candidates 2016 Presidential % in CD
California 34th District Xavier Becerra, left to serve as California AttorneyGeneral General: June 6
State Assemblyman
Jimmy Gomez, Fmr Los Angeles City PlanningCommissioner
Robert Lee Ahn
none (*top two vote-getters, in this case Dems, advance to general) Clinton 83%
Trump 11%
Georgia 6th District Tom Price, left to serve as Secretary of Health & Human Services General: June 20 Former Congressional Aide Jon Ossoff Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel Clinton 47%
Trump 48%
South Carolina 5th District Mick Mulvaney, left to serve as Director, Office of Management & Budget General: June 20 Goldman Sachs senior adviser Archie Parnell State Rep Ralph Norman Clinton 39%
Trump 57%
Utah 3rd District Jason Chaffetz Primary: August 15.
November 7, 2017
Kathie Allen, Benjamin Frank, Carl Ingwell, Faeiza Javed


Independent American Party:
Jason Christensen, Aaron Heineman

Libertarian Party:
Joe Buchman
Potential Unaffiliated:
Jim Bennett
Stewart Peay, Deidre Henderson, Christopher Niles Herrod, Margaret Dayton, Brad Daw, Damian Kidd, Keith Kuder, Tanner Ainge, Debbie Aldrich, Shayne Horton Row, Paul David Fife, Jeremy Lewis Friedbaum, John Curtis, Brigham Rhead Cottam, Mike Leavitt
Clinton 23%
Trump 47%

As always, DemList will keep you informed.

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Kimberly Scott

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Sources: Real Clear Politics, Mother jones, Deseret News Utah, DailyKos

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