Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that he doesn’t see the need now to call a special legislative session this spring to pass a law detailing how his administration would conduct a special U.S. House election. U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who stunned state politicos by announcing Wednesday he won’t seek re-election in 2018, told KSL Radio’s Doug Wright Thursday morning that he “may” resign his seat before his current term ends January 2019. All Utah has currently is the U.S. constitutional requirement that the governor will call a special election to fill a U.S. House vacancy.
There’s no law telling exactly how the governor would go about this. And here’s an important caveat:
— Herbert said it would be up to political parties to pick whose name(s) go on the special election ballot.
— And a failed bill in the just-completed 2017 Legislature, SB252, also had political parties deciding who would be on a U.S. House special election ballot.
So it certainly appears that should Chaffetz resign before the end of his term, then the current SB54-allowed candidate nomination route of gathering signatures WOULD NOT be allowed in picking Chaffetz’s replacement.
That is a critical difference. For one of the main reasons the Count My Vote folks were running their 2014 petition was to take state delegates out of the party candidate nomination process – with the idea that a primary election could find a winner via the signature-gathering route.