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. Bob From pittsburgh

    “”Republican congressman loses primary challenge””

    The other fear monger will loose the election. They are nothing but a bunch of bible thumpers, but they do not practice what they preach..

    Sick people…

    June 25, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Peter E

    Well, at least one state still holds their representatives responsible for their stances instead of voting on the content of their iPod.

    June 25, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Delaware Voter

    There is a reason that Republican voter turnout is low. And I'm a Replublican saying that!

    My vote is going for Barack Obama this November. It will be the first time in my life (46 years & counting!) that I have ever voted for a Democrat.

    June 25, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Peter E

    Note the difference between democrats and republicans:
    Republicans vote for/against a representative based on their stance on issues.
    Democrats vote based on the candidate's money and the content of their iPod.

    June 25, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Larry Parvin

    Obama, You need to leave Theology to the Theologians because you are out of your league. Our Government was set up on biblical principles from the old testament if you would read it, Sir.
    Larry Parvin

    June 25, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. KParkes, NY

    Thre mere notion that Cannon supports ending the right to citizenship to INNOCENT children born on the soil of this land is SHAMEFUL. This country was essentially built on immigrant power, and this contry continues to strive because of the input of immigrants. I wish more people would realize that deporting a reported 12million undocumented immigrants would reak havoc on this country's economy, it would LITERALLY shut down. Children should NOT be punished because they came at a time when their parents were only seeking a better life for themselves and their unborn (now born) children.

    June 25, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Anyone who wants to know why they are or should be a Republican should read Reagan's speech, "A Time For Change", October, 1964.

    June 25, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. John

    "In February, Maryland Democratic Rep. Al Wynn and Maryland GOP Rep. Wayne Gilchrest were both defeated in February."

    In February they were both defeated in February? No way! (please proofread...please!)

    June 25, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  9. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    First Mississippi, now Utah. The nation's political impulse is now showing indicators that are leaning more democratic. Thank you President Bush.....you performed your duties well...

    June 25, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Matt, Manchester, CT

    "Or should I ask who with a conscience could vote repub?"

    Oh that's right, we've forgotten how ethical and upstanding the Democratic Party is, enlightened voter. If you're going to throw stones one way, try to make sure you don't sound too hypocritical in the process. I'm also very happy to see you pulled the "repug" name right out of sophomore year and placed it on this bastion of intelligent discussion... ha ha ha.

    June 25, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    This shows how out of touch the GOP base is as it tacks even further to the right at this time in history.

    The Democratic tidal wave this November will raise all boats, and swamp the USS McBush!

    Obama/Nunn in 2008 and beyond.

    June 25, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    Seriously, the citizens of Utah are just plain scary. It's like they live in a permanent bubble and have absolutely no idea what has gone on in this world over the past, oh, 400 years.

    June 25, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. senior white female

    Utah is one state I won't be visiting.

    June 25, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. JD

    Carte blanche, mean-hearted and untrue insults of the People of the great state of Utah are totally uncalled for and unbecoming to any real American.

    June 25, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Tim in California

    This is way too funny. We have one looney out "looneying" another looney.

    Does any one really wonder why the "republican brand" is damaged?

    The chickens will come home to roost for the right wing loonies this November. They will sit on the sidelines for the next decade carping about what might have been if they hadn't been so dishonest during their reign.

    June 25, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Darth Vadik, CA

    Think about this:

    Who i s the one who is about exceptance

    and who is the one about devieceveness

    WWJD

    yeah that what I thought you christian wacos

    June 25, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. jason, gainesville

    ending automatic citizenship for children born in the U.S.? sure! maybe we can work on making that retroactive too? excellent! that way, only those of us whose ancestry can be traced back to "america" (ONLY) are citizens. alright. now that every single one of you is no longer a citizen of the U.S., (natives dont count here...anyway i dont think the government gave them high-speed routers with the poxy bedlinnens) you also have to take away bruce lee's american-ness. and why would you want to give anything to china?

    June 25, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. @everyamericans

    only a FOOL will be VOTING FOR the REPUBLICANS!!!!!

    their days are numbered!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 25, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Michael

    Enlightened Voter,

    Do you not realize how amusing you are to conservatives? The old trope that conservatives, who are usually Republicans, are immoral is apparently not old enough for you. Say hello to the other members of the "intelligentia" herd with whom you run. Write again when you're old enough to think and not childishly equate your party or political philosophy with true morality. Perhaps you should read Frederick Hayek as a primer followed by a Milton Friedman chaser.

    June 25, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. demwit

    Come on CNN!!

    We all know that Obama is going to go down to Salt Lake city and majically sweet talk all those mormons into surrendering their ideals too....

    June 25, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Beltway Insider

    Never trust someone with gigantic hands.

    June 25, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. A recovering Republican

    One of the most conservative Repubs was defeated as being "too liberal." No wonder the Repubs are in trouble, and its getting worse. I have always considered myself a conservative, but that was the "Goldwater" conservative. I haven't changed my perspectives, the Repubs changed theirs and now I look like a flaming liberal.

    10 years sober.

    June 25, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Alex

    This is just one of many cards yet to fall. This ain't Rocket Science folks! It is simply a message to the Republican politicians that your conduct and leadership over the past 7 years has been inept, unacceptable and if you want to get into office or stay, clean up your act or otherwise the voters will send you packing. Theres a nation of people out here who want their concerns addressed and not just your egos and wallets!

    June 25, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Obama/Hillary 08

    time is up..

    June 25, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Cynthia

    The more the merrier – we have to change the way Washington is ran inorder to get this country back on track.

    June 25, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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