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. The Austrian

    I will be holding you to your promises, Mr. Chaffetz. Please do not let us down.

    June 25, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Xavier, Saint Louis, MO

    Good! The GOP days are numbered!

    June 25, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. America !!

    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 ...................WHO CARES!!!!

    June 25, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. FactCheck

    Actually, I'm not surprised that Chaffetz didn't run on the platform that all immigrants should be gathered up and forced into labor camps and then "ethnically cleansed". Utah: where you can have multiple spouses but drinking Coca Cola is a sin.

    June 25, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Abby

    what a gullible and hateful crowd taht voted forthe extreme..he promised to deport all the undocumented in the US? all 12 million plus of them? if they began to imagine what kind of money and law enforcement that would cost not to mention drive the cost of food up (farmed by the undocumented) among other things…Please!

    June 25, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. PalmettoPatriot

    The GOP is going to have to wake up to the fact that its supporters are not going to accept open-borders traitors who talk a big game and do nothing about the invasion of our land.

    June 25, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. Dave

    Utah in historical perspective.

    June 25, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Sen.McCain't Change

    If McCain thinks Obama is Dr. No... then we might as well consider him Dr. Evil..or Bush's mini Me..lol

    June 25, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Enlightened Voter

    Of course voter turnout is low for the repugs, who in their right mind would vote republican? Or should I ask who with a conscience could vote repub?

    June 25, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Good!

    June 25, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. Rick Mortensen

    Cannon's district does NOT include a "majority of Salt Lake City's suburbs." Salt Lake City is OVERWHELMINGLY Democrat, as evinced by our mayor and City Council. Most suburbs, where people who work in the city live, are in the district of DEMOCRATIC congressman Jim Matheson. (Salt Lake County is in Matheson's district). First of all, describing a suburb as belonging to a city is vague and meaningless. However, if the suburbs in Cannon's district can be said to belong to any city, they belong to Provo or Orem (that is where their residents live and work.

    Your sloppy reporting offends me and should offend all residents of Salt Lake City and surrounding areas. Please correct this mistake.

    Rick Mortensen
    Salt Lake

    June 25, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Sarge in Florida

    Anyone born in the USA is an AMERICAN citizen even if their parents were here illegally. What part of the CONSTITUTION don't the IDIOT REPUBLICANS don't understand?????

    June 25, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  13. Joe

    Conservatism prevails once again!

    After 4 years of Obama, America will be begging for a true conservative in the White House.

    June 25, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Saad from NJ

    May God bless our country, Amen. This is scary. While he is not wrong in his thinking, he is forgetting why are the greatest nation on earth. It is because of our policy and a system of checks and balances. If our forefathers had the type of hate and anger towards a group, especially towards the relatively less fortunate as it is in this case, we would not have become the #1 nation in the world.

    But then again, it would be unfair to blame Chaffetz. What does this say about the people who elected him. Why does it say about the people of Utah. Have they all forgotten why we are, who we are?

    June 25, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Gerry M

    I guess it is possible to believe that more vicious, racist, hate mongers like this presumptive GOP congressional nominee would reveal more of the nature of the real ‘conservative’ movement. I think that in reality these super right wingers are a harbinger of what is to come for the Republicans. The Republicans are going to loose the presidency and present president Obama with a filibuster proof Senate in November. The natural result will be for the survivors to push what’s left of the Republican Party further to the extreme right. I’m sure Barry Goldwater (the Father of modern conservative political thought) is rolling over and over in his grave because these super right wingers have almost completely hijacked his politics and recast them in their super right wing model.

    June 25, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. John Mesa AZ.

    Utah politics is the LDS Church. If you win it's because they say you win. Which is fine with me they run there church better than the country is run.

    June 25, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. William, from Cali!

    Now that he has won, let's hope he will get "things that he promised" done......I for one, support his immigration stand 100%; to bad it doesn't apply to all parts of the U.S.A. That's why he won..................

    June 25, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Darth Vadik, CA

    and the liberals are the vilans?
    yeah whatever.
    Pay your $4.50

    June 25, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. al

    ********************************

    UTAH.................THE GREAT BASTION OF MORONS. SHOULD START DEPORTING ALL THE MORONS FROM THE UNITED STATES TO UTAH. WHAT HAPPENS IN UTAH STAYS IN UTAH. WHEN WILL YOU SEE THE LIGHT.

    STOP THE MADNESS. VOTE OBAMA.

    June 25, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Hey Factcheck. What part of illegal don't you understand? Abby, if we forced employers to check immigration status before hiring, enforced existing laws, and created real penalties for hiring illegals, then they wouldn't get jobs. if they didn't have jobs, they'd leave on their own. There's enough people unemployed who are citizens to fill every job held by an illegal.

    June 25, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Winton

    One of the most conservative Republicans is not conservative enough? Republicans trying to make their party a fundamentalist,
    far right party are painting themselves into a corner. This kind of conservative thinking worked over one hundred years ago. If they want to keep the Republican party the party of the dark ages, so be it.

    June 25, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Darth Vadik, CA

    and the liberals are the vilans?
    yeah whatever.
    Pay your $4.50 a gallon.
    If you are still a Republican

    GET YOUR HEADD CHECKED

    June 25, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Darth Vadik, CA

    and "liberal" is the bad word.
    you have demonized us for ghe last 60 years,
    hehehehehehehehehehehe
    conservative will be the next bad word for the next generation

    June 25, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  24. Ray, NM

    This shows conservatives are firing up. Too bad news for liberal Obama.

    June 25, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. The Choir

    HR Clin ton
    HR Clin ton
    HR Clin ton
    HR Clin ton
    HR Clin ton
    HR Clin ton
    HR Clinton
    Barack Obama.

    smile, 08.

    June 25, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
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