Former NFL and BYU defensive lineman Jason Buck said Thursday, Sept. 15 he is running for Congress, but will wait for final redistricting maps before declaring which seat he would seek.
The 48-year-old Highland resident said, however, he would not challenge U.S. Reps. Jason Chaffetz or Rob Bishop, leaving him to consider taking on U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, or a yet-to-be-drawn fourth district.
That unknown district already has a declared candidate for the Republican Party in state Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman.
"We are not going to announce until the district realignment is announced," Buck said. "There are too many factors that could change our strategy."
Buck said he decided to run because he felt "the country has drifted away from the Constitution" and he wants to contain spending.
However, he said he wasn't sure if he fell under the banner of a tea party candidate.
"I didn't come out of the block to be identified by any label," he said. "But everything I see in the tea party platform I agree with."
According to his campaign website, Buck supports a balanced budget amendment, lower taxes on businesses and wants to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law. He also supports Utah's right to manage federal lands.
But he is at odds with some in the tea party who want to oust Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, from his seat a move that has divided Republicans in the state and recently brought the national group FreedomWorks to Utah looking to recruit a challenger to the six-term senator.
"I'm friends with Orrin and I understand peoples' frustrations and there's a lot to be weighed in that situation," Buck said. "He's in a position where he can be the senior chairman in the Finance Committee and, the fact that it's a seniority-based system there and there aren't term limits, well that's a huge amount of value to having someone in that position."
Thomas Wright, state Republican Party chairman, said he's not surprised to see the field starting to fill out and said it's not unusual for candidates to declare for districts that haven't been drawn yet.
"That's what it takes and you don't know what district you'll live in," Wright said. "When you run for Congress, you have the ability to run in a place you don't live in."
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert called a special session of the Legislature on Oct. 3 to hammer out the new political map.
Buck played football for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1987-1990 and then was a part of the Washington Redskins Super Bowl run in 1992 and retired from the NFL in 1993. He played at BYU, where in 1986, he was named an All-American. He was a first-round draft pick.
Currently, Buck does motivational speaking, football analysis for regional networks and is a co-owner of the Utah Blaze arena football team. He is married and has four children.