Packed GOP field forms for Nov. 7 election for Chaffetz seat

A packed field of Utah Republicans started shaping up Friday to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz while the governor and legislators tussled over whether the state needs to pass emergency laws to hold a special election.

The U.S. Constitution and Utah law say that if a U.S. House seat becomes vacant, the governor will call a special election. But the law offers few additional details on the process.

Gov. Gary Herbert said that allows him and the state elections office to fill in the other details, which they did Friday. Herbert scheduled a Nov. 7 special election, along with an Aug. 15 primary election, where candidates who gather signatures to get on the ballot will compete against candidates nominated by political parties at their conventions.

Legislative leaders disagree with Herbert’s take, arguing that they alone have the power to set Utah election laws. They’re demanding Herbert call them into an emergency legislative session to spell out the special election process before Chaffetz leaves office on June 30.

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