Utah's RINO (Republican In Name Only) 3rd District Congressman Chris Cannon has just drawn his toughest opponent yet for the upcoming 2008 Republican primary. On Monday, October 1st, 2007, former Huntsman aide Jason Chaffetz will formally announce his intention to challenge Cannon for the Republican nomination. Full story posted in the Deseret Morning News.
Chaffetz's resume is bursting at the seams with political experience. A former Brigham Young University football place-kicker, Chaffetz worked on a number of local GOP races before joining Governor Jon Huntsman's 2004 campaign, subsequently becoming the campaign manager. As a reward, Huntsman named Chaffetz his first chief of staff in January 2005. He briefly flirted with the idea of running against Utah's Democratic 2nd District Congressman Jim Matheson in 2006, but chose not to follow through. Matheson, though a Democrat, is well thought of in his district and is not afraid to break ranks with the national Democrats to vote his district's interests.
On his campaign website, Chaffetz briefly explains why he's running against Cannon for Congress:
I am now a candidate for the Republican nomination in Utah's Third Congressional District because a return to conservative principles is our best hope. Since Mr. Cannon took office, fiscal discipline is not a priority, there is no accountability, illegal immigration is worse, he voted in favor of No Child Left Behind, and his ethics and public comments have been an embarrassment.
Chaffetz will be Cannon's first announced opponent for 2008. Others are expected. Cannon was challenged by Matt Throckmorton in 2004. Throckmorton ran a good campaign, but could not compete with Cannon financially, thus falling short in the Republican primary by 16 percentage points.
In 2006, Cannon was challenged by an opponent with powerful financial muscle, John Jacob. At the state Republican Party convention in May 2006, Jacob actually outpointed Cannon 52 percent to 48 percent of delegate ballots. Because neither candidate received the 60 percent or more of delegate ballots necessary to become the Republican nominee outright, both Jacob and Cannon duked it out again in a primary election in June. Jacob continued to run neck-and neck with Cannon until the week before the June primary. Then Jacob made an incredible statement which, when I heard it, I knew that Jacob had just thrown away the election. On June 23rd, 2006, KSL reported the Jacob had told the Salt Lake Tribune, "There's another force that wants to keep us from going to Washington, D.C. It's the devil, is what it is. I don't want you to print that, but it feels like that's what it is."
And this was no idle passing comment, either. Jacobs actually discussed this at length. He told the media that since he decided to run for Congress, Satan had bollixed his business deals, preventing him from putting as much money into the race as he had hoped. Numerous business deals he had lined up have been delayed, freezing money he was counting on to finance his race. "You know, you plan, you organize, you put your budget together and when you have 10 things fall through, not just one, there's some other, something else that is happening," Jacob said. When asked if he actually believed that "something else" was indeed Satan, Jacob said: "I don't know who else it would be if it wasn't him. Now when that gets out in the paper, I'm going to be one of the screw-loose people." Jacob, who, like Cannon and the rest of Utah's congressional delegation, is a Mormon, said he is not the only one who is being opposed by the devil.
Guess what? He must have immediately become perceived as one of the "screw-loose" people, because he suddenly went from a dead heat with Cannon to nearly 12 percentage points down. On June 27th, 2006, Cannon ended up with 55.8 percent of the vote, while Jacob limped home with 44.2 precent. Lesson learned: Do not blame campaign problems on metaphysical events or personalities, not even in Utah's heavily conservative 3rd Congressional District, which includes most of Utah County, the west side of Salt Lake County, and areas into central Utah.
The biggest problem with Chris Cannon is his absolutely deplorable record on immigration issues. Americans for Better Immigration give him an overall letter grade of "C-", but he gets an "F" on both amnesty and on guest workers. Cannon essentially wants to give amnesty to all illegals, and wants to increase the number of guest workers admitted to this country, particularly under the H-1B and L-1 visa programs. A series of posts on the Alaska Pride blog amply document the problems and abuses of the H-1B program, to include an account of a Jewish law firm in Pittsburgh that was indoctrinating employers on how to game the H-1B program to freeze out American workers.
Chris Cannon's financial summary through 2006 can be found HERE. Note that 63.3% percent of his contributions came from PACs.
Cannon's complete voting record can be found on VoteSmart.
Cannon's ratings from special interest groups can be found HERE.