June 25th, 2008
11:03 AM ET
6 years ago

Republican congressman loses primary challenge

Jason Chaffetz defeated Republican Rep. Chris Cannon Tuesday night .
Jason Chaffetz defeated Republican Rep. Chris Cannon Tuesday night .

(CNN) – Utah Rep. Chris Cannon, consistently ranked among Congress' most conservative Republicans, was defeated Tuesday by a primary challenger who repeatedly argued Cannon was not conservative enough.

Jason Chaffetz, a first-time candidate and former chief of staff to Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, defeated Cannon by 20 percentage points, 60 percent to 40 percent, with nearly all the precincts reporting.

Chaffetz pledged to be more conservative on illegal immigration policies. Cannon has said he supports a program where undocumented immigrants, who lack a criminal record, could pay a fine to obtain a temporary workers permit. Chaffetz instead advocates a plan to begin gradually deporting all illegal immigrants from the United States. He also supports ending automatic citizenship for children born to illegal immigrants living in the United States.

"We have a mandate to change the way business is done in Washington," Chaffetz told CNN. "We are thrilled. I was outspent by $600,000, I have no paid staff, and no name identification. I said we need to get back to conservative principles and it obviously resonated."

Chaffetz is now essentially guaranteed to win in November. The district, which includes a some of Salt Lake City's suburbs, is overwhelmingly Republican. President Bush won 77 percent of the vote in 2004.

Voter turnout for the primary was extremely low, an ominous sign for the party, Chaffetz said.

"This ought to be a wakeup call the establishment that things are not well. We need to remind people why they are Republicans because they have forgotten, and are not inspired by anybody. "

Cannon is the third member of Congress this year to lose to in a primary this year. In February, Maryland Democratic Rep. Al Wynn and Maryland GOP Rep. Wayne Gilchrest were both defeated in February.


Filed under: Congress
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. Nick

    Dab: That guy has a huge hand

    This man has his priorities straight.

    June 25, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Just curious, but how many of the Mormons are in Iraq fighting versus the number of Mormons stating their favor for the war and sending other people's kids to fight??

    June 25, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. Conservative AZ

    We need a congressman like Jason Chaffetz in AZ who has the courage to stand up and be willing to deport ILLEGAL immigrants and not give legal status to anyone just because they happened to be born in the United States. I'm sick of my state (and my country) being handed over to the illegals.

    June 25, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. Salaam, Lawrence KS

    Nader is just irrelevant. All he's trying to do is to gain attention. Not this time Ralph, you're not gonna waste it.

    June 25, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. rice, bryan

    another one off the floor, and many more to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Brandon Hillary Democrat for Mc Cain

    Former Democrat gone Republican Mc Cain 08'

    June 25, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. Jill

    The Republicans have kept America in the "Dark Ages" with War, Economy and Health care. The American people are waking up and want change!

    Obama say ,knock you out!!!

    June 25, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  8. Doris,Memphis,TN

    Good bye Mr. Cannon.
    I would blame GWB.

    June 25, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  9. Nando, Florida

    WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. Truth B Told

    THE COUNTRY IS WHAT REPUBLICANS MADE IT!!!! THEY BRING IN OUTSIDE WORKERS TO BUILD THIS COUNRTY UP AND FORGET THAT THINGS MUST CHANGE! AMERICA IS NOW THE GREAT MELTING POT AND EVERYONE MUST REALIZE THAT! SO IF REPUBLICANS FORGOT WHO THEY WERE, IT'S BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT THE SAME PEOPLE ANYMORE AND WILL NEVER B!!!

    CHANGE IS FOR THE BEST!

    "WE ARE THE WORLD" (M. JACKSON)

    WE ARE FIGHTING WARS BETWEEN EACH OTHER, LET ALONE AGAINST OTHER COUNTRIES!!!

    OBAMA 08/12

    June 25, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Darth Vadik, CA

    Andy J, NY,

    How many bills have been vetod by Republicans in the past year

    HOW MANY?

    Up or down votes, remember that, Yeah right

    States rights. Yeah Right.

    Go sell crazy somewhere else Andy
    I ain't buying your BS any more

    June 25, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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