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Chaffetz Resigns: What’s Next For Utah?

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Jason Chaffetz’s decision to leave his term on June 30 puts Utah in a difficult position.

"The issues are complex. It’s not just a simple thing to decide," Gov. Herbert said.

Utah election code requires Governor Herbert to issue a special election, but how it should be done is up to interpretation of vague language.

Gov. Herbert wants candidates to have a direct path to the primary, where candidates can gather signatures to get on the ballot. In a press conference held in his home Thursday, Chaffetz said he supports Governor Herbert’s process that could take up to four months to fill his empty seat.

"I understand the importance of getting it done quickly, as opposed to taking too much time. I also believe that we need to get it right, which trumps doing it quick," Gov. Herbert said.

"In that 180 day process, half of Utah for one-fourth of the term is not represented in the House of Representatives. In my opinion, I think there is a travesty in the process," Dan McCay said, (R) Dist. 41.

On this week’s Inside Utah Politics, McCay disagrees with Gov. Herbert’s proposal, arguing lawmakers should gather in a special session to create new special election guidelines with a structured timeline.

"Otherwise, the governor is acting in a position extra statutory and in my opinion, that puts him on very weak legal footing," McCay said.

Meanwhile, candidates are already gunning for the empty seat.

On Friday, clean air activist Carl Ingwell will announce his run in District 3.

Salt Lake City physician, Dr. Kathryn Allen is running as a democrat.

American Fork attorney Damian Kidd announced in January he will run for the seat as a republican.

Provo Mayor John Curtis tweeted he is "seriously considering" a run on Thursday.

Inside Utah Politics airs Sunday morning at 8:00.

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