Just one day after Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced his date of departure from Congress, state officials released an expedited timeline to fill his soon-to-be-vacated 3rd Congressional District seat. Filing started Friday afternoon — and remains open for one week — with many candidates having already announced their bids in a mad scramble to join the race. The field will be set by June 30, the day Chaffetz steps down. A special election is scheduled for Nov. 7, aligning with voting for municipal offices. If needed — and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said it is “very likely” — a primary will be held on Aug. 15. The deadlines, Cox said, are meant to “mirror as closely as possible” the standard process. “This is an election,” he said. “It’s not an appointment.”
Since Chaffetz announced in April that he would not seek re-election and would likely not complete his term in office, Gov. Gary Herbert and state lawmakers have been at odds over the authority to set the procedure for special elections.
In accordance with SB54, Herbert has insisted that candidates have the opportunity to qualify for the ballot by collecting signatures — rather than solely participating in the party nominating conventions (where delegates select party nominees).