In the fight over how Congressman Jason Chaffetz will be replaced in the event he resigns, Gov. Gary Herbert has an advantage. He’s by far the most popular politician in the 3rd Congressional District. Herbert, of course, isn’t running to replace Chaffetz. But in his disagreement with key legislative leaders over the special election process, he enjoys a lot of political capital. He can use it to fend off legislative efforts to dictate how party nominees are chosen in a special election. In case you don’t remember, Herbert is perfectly happy to use Utah’s current election process in a special election, allowing candidates to get on the election ballot either by gathering sufficient signatures or by going through the caucus/convention system – or both.
Republican Party leaders and some legislators, on the other hand, argue that political parties ought to choose the nominees in the event of a congressional vacancy. A special election should be conducted quickly so a vacancy doesn’t last very long, they say.
Herbert and Count My Vote leaders point out that if party delegates or party central committees choose the nominees, then general party voters are excluded from the process. The winner is likely to stay in office for many years, so it’s more important to do it right than to rush the process, they say.
Changing the current election process would require a special legislative session, which legislative leaders are pushing for. But Utah’s constitution allows only the governor to call a special session, and only the governor can determine agenda items.
Full Article: Analysis: Who has upper hand in fight over special election?.