After relatively quiet campaigns, Republican Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop won big Tuesday.
Chaffetz also was able to do something he could not in his first two terms: vote for himself. He lived just outside his 3rd District until the Legislature redrew boundaries to include his home.
"It was a bit surreal," he said, "to finally check a box with the name ‘Chaffetz.’ "
He locked up more than 75 percent of the vote in his race against Salt Lake City Councilman Soren Simonsen. "About 60 percent of the new district is in Utah County, and people there know me and how I vote," Chaffetz said. "I always figured if I voted right, worked hard and communicated well to my constituents, I would be OK."
His goals now, he said, include using his chairmanship of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Foreign Operations to continue investigation into the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. Also, "fiscal discipline is at the top of the list of my goals for Congress."
Bishop secured a sixth term in the 1st District, according to unofficial returns, capturing more than 70 percent of the vote against Democrat Donna McAleer, a former Army officer.
"There was a choice in this race about direction," Bishop said. "There was the option of basically going back to what the first two years of the Obama administration were like, and I think that was rejected in 2010 to move in a different direction for the empowerment of states and individuals."
Bishop, a member of the powerful House Rules Committee and head of a subcommittee on public lands, said a major goal is to work on agreements which may protect more wilderness but only as part of overall deals that also permit resource development to better fund Utah schools and allow more public-lands decisions to be made in Utah.
He vowed to work hard to protect Hill Air Force Base and improve its facilities. He also wants to further federalism, returning more power to states. "That has become part of my mantra."
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