The 41-year-old Chaffetz is an all-but-certain winner in November, having knocked off Rep. Chris Cannon in the June 24 Republican primary in one of the most conservative and Republican districts in the country. Ideologically, Cannon seemed to fit the district perfectly, except for one thing: his position on immigration. Cannon was among the relatively few conservatives who supported President Bush’s plan for a guest-worker program for illegal immigrants, a position Cannon called compassionate but one that opponents saw as amnesty. In 2004 and 2006, GOP challengers gave Cannon a tough renomination fight.
Chaffetz is the former chief of staff to Gov. Jon Huntsman (and he still holds school records from his days as the placekicker for Brigham Young University’s football team in the late 1980s). Chaffetz jumped into this year’s race calling for the deportation of all illegal immigrants. He also wants to abolish the Department of Education. The first-time candidate surprised both David Leavitt, thought to be the favorite for the nomination, as well as Cannon himself at the state convention in May. Chaffetz received 59 percent of the delegates for the party endorsement; had he gotten just nine more delegates, the race would have been over. The battle thus continued into the primary, where the well-funded Cannon had the endorsement of Bush, both of Utah’s GOP senators, and all of the local newspapers. But Chaffetz had the voters; he defeated Cannon with 60 percent of the vote, and he is a clear favorite to defeat the Democratic nominee, former TV reporter Bennion Spencer, in the general.
This was a high point for me personally this summer, and Jason Chaffetz’ campaign was what inspired me to start this blog. The GOP and America need more Members of Congress who are, like Jason Chaffetz, committed to primcipled conservatism and limited government.
You can donate to Jason Chaffetz’ campaign here.