History is on Chaffetz’s side to win again in 2018

Jason ChaffetzRep. Jason Chaffetz has already drawn two challengers for 2018, Republican Damien Kidd and Democrat Kathryn Allen. But, according to history, the chances that they will be able to unseat him next year are remote at best.

An analysis by Smart Politics says Utah has a history of sending most U.S. Representatives back to Congress, especially when they win their party nomination. Chaffetz was the last person to defeat a sitting U.S. Representative for the party nomination when he beat Rep. Chris Cannon in 2008. It’s only happened two other times in Utah history. In 1914 freshman Congressman Jacob Johnson lost to Elmer Leatherwood and in 2000 when Derek Smith upset two-term Congressman Merrill Cook for the GOP nomination.

According to the breakdown, Nearly 87% of U.S. Representatives who won their party nomination won re-election that year, or 93 out of 107 tries.

Chaffetz also has been racking up big wins over Democratic challengers. In fact, Chaffetz owns four of the top-10 largest margins of victory for U.S. Congress in Utah history.

Smart Politics says only five times in Utah history has an incumbent won by double digits the previous election cycle and gone on to lose two years later, and none of those won by more than 25 points. Chaffetz won in 2016 by nearly 50 points.

  • 1932 (1st CD): Republican Don Colton lost to attorney Abe Murdock, two years after winning his sixth term by 22.1 points.
  • 1946 (2nd CD): Democrat J. Will Robinson was defeated by former State Senator William Dawson, two years after winning his seventh term by 24.5 points.
  • 1958 (2nd CD): Republican William Dawson lost to attorney and professor David King after winning his fourth nonconsecutive term in 1956 by 15.3 points.
  • 1966 (2nd CD): Democrat David King was defeated by former Congressman Sherman Lloyd, two years after winning his third nonconsecutive term by 15.1 points.
  • 1996 (3rd CD): Democrat Bill Orton lost to attorney Chris Cannon after winning his third term in 1994 by 19.1 points.