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Majority of Utahns support Chaffetz's decision to leave Congress early

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, leaves the KSL-TV studio after an interview in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Chaffetz announced he is not running for re-election — or any other office — in 2018.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, leaves the KSL-TV studio after an interview in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 19, 2017. Chaffetz announced he is not running for re-election — or any other office — in 2018.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A majority of Utahns support Rep. Jason Chaffetz's decision to resign from Congress only partway through his term to pursue other interests, according to a UtahPolicy.com poll released Monday.

The poll found that 55 percent of registered voters surveyed back the Utah Republican's choice to leave office Friday. Just over one-third, 34 percent, were opposed, and 12 percent had no opinion.

Chaffetz announced in April he would not seek a sixth term representing the 3rd District next year, then said he would step down sooner to take a position in the private sector, believed to be with Fox News.

The poll was conducted for the online political news source by Dan Jones & Associates May 31-June 5 of 607 registered Utah voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.98 percent.

An election is underway to choose a new representative in November for the district that includes portions of Salt Lake and Utah counties, as well as Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan, and Wasatch counties.

A Republican primary is set for Aug. 15 between former state lawmaker Chris Herrod, Provo Mayor John Curtis and Alpine lawyer Tanner Ainge. Democrats have already settled on Cottonwood Heights physician Kathie Allen as their candidate.

The special election process for filling Utah's first congressional vacancy since 1929 has sparked friction between Gov. Gary Herbert and both Republican and Democratic legislators.

Lawmakers claim the GOP governor overstepped his authority by setting up the election rather than call them into a special legislative session so they could pass their plan to let political parties choose nominees and hold the election sooner.

But legislative leaders have said they won't delay the current election by challenging the process in court, although they could still fight Herbert's decision to not allow the release of an opinion they sought from the attorney general's office.

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com

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