Jim Bennett, son of former U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, said Monday he intends to run as a United Utah Party candidate rather than as an unaffiliated candidate to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Ut., in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District.
Bennett filed for the vacant Congressional seat on May 26, but Utah Elections Director Mark Thomas rejected the application as a candidate because the United Utah Party had not been certified as a qualified political party.
“It is unfortunate,” Bennett said. “In just a few weeks we’ve heard from thousands of registered Utah voters who want this to happen. What a shame it would be to refuse their democratic action.”
Bennett and the United Utah Party are proceeding with confidence. On Saturdayat Corner Canyon High School in Draper, the party will hold its first convention where members will officially nominate Bennett for the special elections race.
“We are pleased that Jim Bennett wants to run in the special election as our party’s candidate and we hope that he can do so,” said Richard Davis, United Utah Party chair. “We know many Utahns want to him to be able to run as a party candidate.”
While Bennett and his party are doing everything possible to comply with the law, they are seeking help from the law. A legal challenge is moving forward that would assure Bennett can run as a duly elected official of his party. Bennett expects the challenge will succeed, although he remains hopeful that such legal action will not be necessary and that the Lieutenant Governor’s office will agree to allow Bennett to appear on the special ballot as the United Utah Party candidate.
“Utahns have acted with faith in democracy and their elected officials,” Bennett said. “They deserve this.”