Utah congressman Chris Cannon, who impeached Clinton, dies

 May 10, 2024

Former Republican congressman Chris Cannon, who hailed from a prominent Utah family and played a role in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, has died. He was 73. 

Cannon represented Utah's 3rd congressional district from 1997 to 2009. He died unexpectedly Wednesday, according to his brother Joe Cannon.

Utah congressman dies

During his time in Washington, Cannon served on influential committees including the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, which he chaired from 2003 until 2007.

The highlight of his career was serving as one of 13 impeachment managers who brought the case against Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial.

Chris Cannon entered Congress in 1996 when he defeated Democratic Rep. Bill Orton. Cannon went on to win re-election five times before losing to Jason Chaffetz in the 2008 Republican primary.

Paying tribute to his former rival, Chaffetz said of Cannon, "we all can thank him for his valiant, patriotic work fighting for the USA."

Utah senator Mike Lee (R) said he was "stunned and saddened" by the news.

“I will miss his insights, encouragement, and friendship. Sharon and I mourn with his wife, Claudia, along with the couple’s children and extended family, all of whom are in our prayers as we who knew him try to come to terms with this heartbreaking news," he wrote.

Prominent family

Cannon's great grandfather, Republican George Q. Cannon, represented Utah in Congress when it was still a territory and was a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

A Salt Lake City native, Chris Cannon was trained as a lawyer at Brigham Young University and went on to work for the Department of the Interior as an assistant solicitor. He was also finance chair of the Utah Republican Party before entering Congress.

Cannon told Deseret News in 2006 that he was inspired by Barry Goldwater.

"There's no questioning the fact that Barry Goldwater was as profound an influence on me politically as anybody. ... He becomes sort of this point in time where we shifted away from where we'd gone with Roosevelt and the socialization of America, and he was one of the first people to say, 'You know, this is the wrong direction,'" he said.

Cannon was predeceased by his daughter Rachel, who died in 2005. He is survived by his wife Claudia and their seven other children.

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