Ravell Call, Deseret News archives
Jason Chaffetz

For the first time in his brief but distinguished political career, Rep. Jason Chaffetz served as the Speaker pro tempore in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday.

The designation of "Speaker pro tempore" is a temporary responsibility regularly delegated by the Speaker of the House (in this case Rep. John Boehner, R-Oh.) allowing another Representative to preside over the House in the Speaker's absence.

"Going to be the Speaker pro tempore this morning starting at 8:00am MST," Chaffetz announced early Thursday morning via his Twitter account. "A first for me. An honor."

The House's official daily summary for Feb. 10 recorded Chaffetz's Speaker pro tempore status as well.

Wikipedia notes, "During important debates, the Speaker pro tempore is ordinarily a senior member of the majority party who may be chosen for their skill in presiding. At other times, more junior members may be assigned to preside to give them experience with the rules and procedures of the House."

It's clear that this instance of Chaffetz, a second-term congressman from Utah County, filling in as Speaker pro tempore is more an instance of the latter than the former. However, some people may interpret Thursday's development as a sign that Chaffetz is on the fast track to a leadership position in the House if he decides to forego a run for the U.S. Senate in 2012.

e-mail: jaskar@desnews.com twitter: @askargo