Saturday, May 10, 2008

Major Surprise From Utah GOP Convention: Jason Chaffetz Takes Early Lead In Third District Congressional Race; Leavitt Now Supporting Cannon

In a major upset brewing at the Utah State Republican Convention on May 10th, 2008, Jason Chaffetz has taken an early and substantive lead over RINO incumbent Chris Cannon and David Leavitt. The other two Republicans, Joe Ferguson and Stone Fonua, have been eliminated from further consideration in the first round. The Provo Daily Herald is live-blogging the GOP Convention HERE. Salt Lake Tribune also live-blogging it HERE. And here's an excellent blog report from another person at the convention.

Here's a list of the mainstream media stories which have since emerged:

(1). Salt Lake Tribune - "Cannon advances to Republican primary by slim margin".

(2). Deseret News - "Utah Republicans: Cannon hangs on for primary race".

(3). KSL Channel 5 - "3rd District challenger gets more votes than Cannon".

(4). KTVX Channel 4 - "Cannon forced into Republican primary"

(5). KUTV Channel 2 - "Cannon forced into Republican primary"

(6). Provo Daily Herald - "Cannon almost ousted by GOP rival"

Here were the results from the first round of voting:

Jason Chaffetz -- 469 votes
Chris Cannon (incumbent) -- 338 votes
David Leavitt -- 220 votes

In the second round, Chaffetz reportedly picked up an additional 100 votes. Sensing the possibility that Chaffetz could win outright, precluding the need for a primary, and believing that Cannon was still better than Chaffetz, David Leavitt apparently decided to throw his support to Cannon to ensure Chaffetz does not get the 60+ percent of the delegates necessary to win outright. Here are the second round totals:

Jason Chaffetz -- 529 votes
Chris Cannon -- 356 votes
David Leavitt -- 161 votes, eliminated from further consideration

And now, the convention itself has come to an end, and the final votes are being counted. Jason Chaffetz is definitely in. The question, will he win outright, or will Chris Cannon get enough of a push from the Leavitt crowd to force a primary contest. David Leavitt is clearly out, though.

Update: Final results in, there will be a primary fight between Jason Chaffetz and Chris Cannon. Chaffetz got 59.01 percent of the vote, Cannon 40.99 percent. There was a similar outcome two years ago between Cannon and John Jacob, but Cannon managed to pull the stake out of his heart and defeat Jacob. The RINO isn't dead yet.

Here's a video report from KUTV Channel 2:

This is a bigger surprise than District 10 Senator Chris Buttars winning his convention fight outright. In both cases, pre-election polls were significantly different than the final outcome. Delegates apparently decided that Chaffetz' residency question (he lives in Alpine, just two miles outside the 3rd District boundaries) was academic.

Now that Chaffetz is in, congrats to him and he's worthy of further support. We've also learned that in the Second Congressional District Republican race, Sandy rookie Bill Dew has taken a huge lead over former Congressman Merrill Cook in the first round; updated results now show he's won outright over Cook with 69 percent of the vote, no primary contest needed.

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