Two Republicans challenge Congressman Chris Cannon

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Posted: 12:51 PM- The 2008 general election is more than a year away but Utah Congressman Chris Cannon already is attracting serious challengers.

Jason Chaffetz, former chief of staff to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., and David Leavitt, former Juab County attorney, both announced they will challenge Cannon for the Republican nomination in the 3rd Congressional District.

Chaffetz, at a press conference Monday morning in West Jordan City Hall, said Cannon has "had his chance" for more than 10 years in Congress and has failed.

"What {Cannon] says and what he does are often two different things," Chaffetz charged.

He blasted the congressman for voting for President Bush's immigration reform plan, for No Child Left Behind education reform and for having what Chaffetz called an "appalling" record of missing votes.

Chaffetz says 3rd District residents are frustrated and disappointed with their representation and they want a change. He says he has personally talked about the issue with most of the 1,200 Republican delegates and has raised "tens of thousands of dollars" toward the race.

Leavitt, meantime, issued a press release today saying his campaign has raised more than $100,000 since kicking off his fundraising effort in August. His deputy campaign manager Jordan Teuscher said Leavitt has four full-time staffers and plans to begin meeting with delegates in October or November and have a kick-off in January. Right now he is wrapping up his law practice and business interests.

"He has no problem with Congressman Cannon, he's a great guy, they've been friends for a lot of years," Teuscher said. "David just sees this as an opportunity where the Republicans are out of power and they need to get some new leadership in there."

Leavitt is the brother of former Gov. Mike Leavitt, now the secretary of Health and Human Services, and was best known for his successful prosecution of polygamist Tom Green in 2000.