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Bush sends letter endorsing Cannon

Published: Tuesday, May 6 2008 12:19 a.m. MDT

PROVO (AP/Deseret News) — President Bush is taking sides in a hot Utah congressional race.

Bush is endorsing incumbent Chris Cannon over two Republican challengers, just days before the state Republican Party convention.

Cannon needs support from 60 percent of the delegates or he'll face a primary election. His challengers are Jason Chaffetz, a former aide to Gov. Jon Huntsman, and Dave Leavitt, the brother of former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt.

"I have not seen (the letter) but I expected the president to endorse Chris Cannon," said Chaffetz. "Chris Cannon supported the president on No Child Left Behind, immigration and some other things, so it's no surprise."

In the endorsement letter, Bush says it's important to have Cannon return to Washington for another two-year term.

Bush also endorsed Cannon when he had Republican opposition in 2006. During that campaign, a similar letter was written by Bush, but it was sent out during the primary. Both Chaffetz and Leavitt feel that this shows Cannon is feeling the pressure more than in years' past.

"What is interesting is not that he did it, but when he did it," said Leavitt. "We think it demonstrates that Cannon's campaign believes he has more vulnerability than he did before."

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