On May 26, as the filing deadline neared, election officials weren’t able to hide the fact that they were annoyed at Jim Bennett, who was standing in their office trying to file as a third-party candidate.
Director of Election Mark Thomas reiterated to Bennett that the United Utah Party had not yet been accepted as an official party, and until it was, no candidate could run under its name. Bennett persisted but was ultimately rebuffed.
However, not all is lost. Three third-party candidates were able to file. And though the U.S. political machine makes it all but impossible to get elected unless the candidate’s name is followed by an (R) or a (D), it’s worth looking at those who stand for something new.
In the current issue of City Weekly, we stack up Republicans and Democrats running for Chaffetz’ seat, which will be vacated June 30. Here, we’ll examine the three third-party candidates and see how they fare on the highly scientific Chaffetz-O-Meter.
The Independent American Party subscribes to the idea that the Dems and Repubs have strayed from guiding principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. The party convention is 6-9 p.m. June 16 at the Provo Library. The public is invited to attend. Two IAP candidates threw their hats into the ring, so to speak: Jason Christensen and Aaron Heineman.
Choosing not to campaign, Jason Christensen says his bid for the seat is to raise awareness for the party. “I am tired of the corrupt Republicans and Democratic parties controlling this state,” he says. Not only does Christensen want to repeal Obamacare, but he also wants to eventually pull the plug on all government programs by setting a sunset date—10 years, he suggests—and then plan accordingly. On foreign policy, he argues neither isolation nor intervention has been successful. He believes the Pentagon budget should be cut and the U.S. should structure its military around defense. Christensen calls the Utah Enabling Act “illegal,” and believes the federal government shouldn’t control the public lands. Christensen doesn’t support building a wall on the border of Mexico, but he also doesn’t agree that undocumented immigrants should be round up. Instead, “I say, let’s scrap the whole immigration policies and reintroduce a 21st Century Ellis Island-type policy.”
Chaffetz-O-Meter: 3.5. Christensen agrees with Chaffetz about 70 percent of the time, he says, because in his estimation, that’s about how often Chaffetz votes in line with the Constitution.
IAP hopeful Aaron Heineman is an unconventional candidate, to say the least. In an email exchange, he assured City Weekly that his positions would come across as “unorthodox and provocative,” which he figured readers of this publication would “vehemently disagree on.” When asked to share those views, he replied that he wasn’t in the mood, that he was exhausted from web development and working on a document that would express his political positions. Heineman says he and fellow IAP candidate Christensen have a “shared goal of promoting the third party organization to supplant [the] Republican Party.” Voters interested in getting to know this candidate should attend the convention in Provo. “I am very rarely photographed in public or in private,” he wrote before sending a headshot.
Chaffetz-O-Meter: 3.5? It sounds like Heineman aligns with Christensen politically, so it would reason that he would also register a 3.5 on the meter, but that’s only a guess.
The Libertarian Party advocates for limited government on both fiscal and social fronts. One Libertarian is running for the District 3 seat.
The guiding political philosophy behind Libertarian candidate Joe Buchman’s campaign stems from two fundamental ideas: 1) no human has the right to initiate force against another and 2) that humans have a right to do what they want with their own bodies. Buchman knows that the odds of him winning the November election “are virtually zero,” but he wants to participate in the debates. Medical care is too bureaucratic, he says, and the system would improve without government intervention. He believes the U.S. should scale back its military footprint by pulling troops back to domestic soil. Buchman supports the proposal to transfer public land management to the state and says it’s “totally unconstitutional to have such a high percentage of Western lands owned by the federal government.” He would also support giving some traditional lands back to Native Americans. As for immigration, Buchman notes that the symbol of the Libertarian Party is the Statue of Liberty. He welcomes immigrants fleeing tyranny who aspire to build a better life for themselves and their families. “At the same time,” he says, “you cannot have open borders to a welfare state.”
Chaffetz-O-Meter: 3. “Jason is perhaps a more effective politician but less principled,” he says.
The only other registered third-party in the state, the Constitution Party, did not run a candidate in this race.