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GOP Candidates For 3rd Congressional District Woo Delegates

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Julia Ritchey, KUER
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State Sen. Deidre Henderson talks to delegates about her decision to run for the 3rd Congressional District. Rep. Jason Chaffetz will be resigning the seat on June 30.

With a special election scheduled to replace outgoing Rep. Jason Chaffetz, several Republican candidates wasted no time in launching their campaigns this weekend at the Utah GOP’s organizing convention in Sandy.

 

Among the booths for members of Congress and party officers, prospective candidates for Utah’s 3rd District seat set up tables with big banners and signs.

 

Most had just declared their candidacy the day before, after Chaffetz gave notice that he would be leaving office at the end of June.

State Sen. Deidre Henderson, who some consider to be a front runner to replace Rep. Chaffetz, handed out tote bags and fielded questions on the floor. When asked by one man how she would protect herself from becoming part of the “swamp,” i.e. Washington, Henderson said her tenure in Congress would not last forever.

“Jason said it best when he was running...he said, ‘I want to get in and serve and get out.’ And that’s what he’s done, and that’s what I would intend to do as well," she said. "I don’t intend to be there for a long time.”

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Credit Julia Ritchey, KUER
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Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, talks to state delegates at the Utah GOP organizing convention in Sandy on May 20.

Two other GOP state lawmakers had booths on Saturday. State Rep. Brad Daw, who represents Orem, and Sen. Margaret Dayton of Provo spoke to prospective delegates, whose support they’ll need to advance to the special election on November 7.  

Chandler Whipple is a GOP delegate from Salt Lake County. He said he’s still figuring out who he’ll support.

“I’ve only met so far with Margaret Dayton and Deidre Henderson,” he said. “I’m impressed with both of them, I think they’ve both got the necessary grit from what I’ve [heard], but I’ve only been here a few minutes.”

Delegates won’t have much time to make up their mind. The Utah GOP announced a special convention for the 3rd District on June 17 at Timpview High School, where they'll select their nominee to replace Chaffetz.

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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