Aaron Heineman is an Independent American Party politician who has run for political office in Utah multiple times since 2017. He has campaigned as a fiscal conservative aligned with the Constitutional Party’s principles and has challenged Republican incumbents for seats in Congress and the Utah House of Representatives. Though ultimately unsuccessful in his electoral bids so far, Heineman exemplifies the efforts of third party candidates to provide an alternative to the two-party system in states like Utah.
Early Life and Education
Heineman was born in Utah and grew up in the suburbs of Salt Lake City. He comes from a large family of ten children. His father ran a small construction company while his mother was a homemaker. From an early age, Heineman developed an interest in politics, law, and the Constitution.
Heineman attended the University of Utah, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science. During college, he was involved in the campus chapter of the College Republicans as well as the debate team. He also took part in Model United Nations competitions.
After graduating, Heineman went on to earn his Juris Doctor degree from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. He passed the bar exam and worked briefly as a legal aide before shifting his focus to electoral politics full-time.
Early Political Career
Coming from a traditionally conservative Mormon family, Heineman registered as a Republican after college. However, he soon grew disillusioned with what he saw as excessive spending and “big government” policies of the mainstream GOP. This led him to switch his affiliation to the Independent American Party, which was affiliated with the national Constitution Party.
Utah State House Campaign
In 2018, Heineman challenged incumbent Republican State Representative Keven Stratton in Utah’s 48th House District which encompassed parts of northern Utah County. He ran on the Independent American ticket, emphasizing his support for limited government, gun rights, and immigration restrictions. However, Stratton defeated him by over 20 points in the general election.
2017 Special Election Campaign
Prior to his state house bid, Heineman ran for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District in a 2017 special election to replace outgoing Congressman Jason Chaffetz. He failed to secure the Independent American nomination at the party’s convention, losing to Joe Buchman who went on to earn just 1% of the special election vote ultimately won by Republican John Curtis.
2018 State House Campaign
In 2018, Heineman sought the State House seat for District 48 in Utah County, aiming to unseat two-term incumbent Rep. Keven Stratton. He ran as the Independent American nominee, supporting the party’s platform of limited government, gun rights, pro-life policies, immigration restrictions, and fidelity to the Constitution.
He faced no primary challenger and advanced to the general election against Stratton. However, with little funding or name recognition, Heineman struggled to mount a formidable campaign. Stratton ultimately defeated him by over 20 points on election day.
Though his ideological stances gained little traction in the heavily conservative district, Heineman’s campaign did exemplify the Independent American Party’s role as an alternative for voters dissatisfied with the mainstream Republican Party dominating Utah politics.
2022 Congressional Campaign
In 2022, Heineman launched another campaign, this time for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District seat held by incumbent Republican Rep. John Curtis. He once again ran under the Independent American Party banner.
In the Republican primary, Curtis faced a challenge from the right in Christopher Herrod but prevailed with 69% of the vote. Meanwhile, Heineman advanced unopposed as the Independent American nominee.
Facing Curtis in the general election, Heineman campaigned on similar Constitutional conservative themes as his prior bids. He advocated for reduced federal spending, protection of Second Amendment gun rights, and tougher policies to curb illegal immigration.
However, Curtis’ incumbency and name recognition proved extremely difficult for Heineman to overcome in the heavily Republican district. Curtis ultimately defeated him 64% to 1%, with Constitution Party nominee Daniel Cummings also earning 2% of the vote.
Despite his loss, Heineman’s campaign underscored the enduring presence of Independent American and Constitution Party conservatives in Utah seeking to present an alternative to mainstream Republican candidates.
Political Views and Platform
Throughout his political campaigns, Heineman has consistently aligned himself with the Independent American and national Constitution Party’s ideological stances. These include:
Constitution Party Affiliation
Heineman ran for office as the nominee of the Constitution Party in Utah, which is named the Independent American Party. He embraced the party’s platform based on originalist interpretations of the Constitution and Judeo-Christian values.
He strongly advocated for reducing federal spending and the national debt. He criticized inflationary monetary policies from the Federal Reserve.
Heineman supported stronger border security efforts to curb illegal immigration. He opposed amnesty programs and sanctuary city policies.
He described himself as “100% pro-life” and called for prohibiting abortion procedures and funding.
Election Results and Analysis
Despite his spirited campaigns, Heineman suffered decisive defeats in all three of his Utah elections from 2017 to 2022. Several key factors contributed to his losses:
Factors Leading to Losses
- Running in extremely heavily Republican districts and states where Democrats stood little chance statewide and third parties faced huge obstacles
- Severely underfunded campaigns compared to his Republican opponents who outraised him by huge margins
- Minimal establishment party support as a third party candidate outside of the local Independent American/Constitution circles
- Low name recognition as a political newcomer compared to incumbent opponents
Lack of Funding and Support
In both his Congressional and state house races, Heineman was outspent by margins of more than 10-to-1 by his Republican challengers who received major support from party donors. With little funding, he struggled to reach voters and gain traction.
Running in Heavily Republican Districts
The districts Heineman ran in were extremely favorable terrain for Republicans, making it an uphill battle for any third party or Democratic candidate. Curtis and Stratton’s branding as conservatives aligned well with the GOP leanings of voters.
Future Political Aspirations
Despite his electoral defeats, Heineman has voiced interest in continuing to run for office to advance Constitutional Party principles in Utah. Possible options he has entertained include campaigns for state senate, governor, or another bid for Congress.
He has said he believes it is crucial for Independent American and Constitution Party candidates to keep offering voters a small government, pro-life, pro-gun rights alternative on ballots nationwide. Heineman stated he will consider whichever race he feels can best continue promoting that ideological vision going forward.
Outside of his political activism, Heineman has worked as a freelance paralegal and legislative aide. He continues to study Constitutional law and history extensively.
Heineman resides in Orem, Utah with his wife and children. He is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and serves in a local congregation. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking Utah’s national parks and recreation areas.
In three electoral bids from 2017 to 2022, Aaron Heineman embodied the rugged Constitutional conservative candidacies of the Constitution and Independent American Parties in Utah. Running on limited government, pro-gun, pro-life and anti-immigration planks, Heineman provided an ideological contrast to establishment Republicans.
While proving no match against GOP incumbents’ fundraising and name recognition, Heineman’s campaigns reflected third parties’ persistence in states like Utah where Republicans dominate elected offices. By giving strict conservative voters alternative choices, Heineman and Independent American candidates continue impacting political dialogue and activism around originalist Constitutional principles. Though a long shot electorally, Heineman fulfilled his role as political outsider and constitutionalist champion in Utah’s recent political arena.
When did Aaron Heineman first run for office?
Heineman first campaigned for Utah’s 3rd District Congressional seat in a 2017 special election to replace resigning Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
What parties has Heineman been affiliated with?
Heineman has campaigned for office as a member of Utah’s Independent American Party as well as the national Constitution Party. He began political life as a Republican before switching to the Constitution-aligned parties.
How many elections has Heineman lost?
Heineman has lost three separate elections from 2017 to 2022 – a 2017 Congressional special, a 2018 Utah House race, and another Congressional bid in 2022.
What are some of Heineman’s key political stances?
Heineman has embraced fiscal conservatism, gun rights, pro-life policies, immigration restrictions, and staunch Constitutional originalist interpretations as part of his Independent American Party affiliation.
What states has Heineman run for office in?
Thus far, Heineman has solely run for elected political offices within his home state of Utah, campaigning for Congressional and state legislative seats.