WASHINGTON TERRACE -- U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz is trying to make waves outside his congressional district in what may become a challenge to U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch's seat.
The Republican representative found a lot of support from the almost 100 people who turned out for a Thursday evening town hall meeting in the Pleasant Valley Branch of the Weber County Library.
He took verbal shots at Hatch and declared, to applause, he is seriously considering running for the senator's seat during the next election.
"I respect and appreciate him for his years of service, but he has done things that I totally disagree with," Chaffetz said.
He said that among his grievances are Hatch's support of the No Child Left Behind Act, the first stimulus bill and the Medicare prescription-drug benefit.
He made no mention of Hatch in his prepared speech about the debt deficit, energy policy and the war on terror. During the speech, he also voiced his support for the balanced budget amendment that would require a balanced federal budget, which Hatch has also supported.
But Chaffetz did attack the senator once attendees brought up his name in the question-and-answer session that followed.
He also denounced Congress -- both Republicans and Democrats -- for overspending and not standing up for itself in the decision to attack Libya.
Heather Barney, spokeswoman for Hatch's office in Ogden, said it's unfortunate that Chaffetz has spent the past week outside his district "running down a fellow Republican instead of working in his own district."
Chaffetz held a similar town hall meeting earlier this week in American Fork.
Hatch's opponents like to emphasize a handful of his votes, hand-picked out of thousands in a long career, Barney said.
She pointed out Hatch's 89 percent rating in terms of how conservatively he has voted over the course of his Congressional career, as determined by the American Conservative Union.
The same lobbying group scores Chaffetz's record at 100 percent, though his record is much shorter than the six-term senator's. Chaffetz was elected to Congress in 2008.
One woman with a question suggested Chaffetz work with Hatch instead of trying to replace him, as they have a lot of the same values. That's when Chaffetz pointed out that he does disagree with the senator and reiterated that he might run against him.
He said he has not made an official decision regarding running for the Senate, but if he does, he will announce it after Labor Day.
If he runs against Hatch, the representative has Christina Wolf's support. The Republican delegate from Clearfield came to the town hall meeting to help her gauge "where people are at."
"(Hatch) has been around too long," she said, and his voting record for the past 15 years has been disappointing.
Neil Lisch, of Centerville, said he would also like to see "some fresh faces" in Congress. He and his wife, who is also a delegate, supported U.S. Sen. Mike Lee's run for Bob Bennett's seat.
At the end of the meeting, Chaffetz asked for the crowd's support and money for his campaign. Donation forms were available as attendees left the library's theater, where the town hall was held.
He is holding a fundraiser today in Park City and will hold another town hall meeting Aug. 25 in Logan.