Utah Mayor Wins GOP Primary for Chaffetz’s Seat

By NTK Staff | 08.16.2017 @10:20am
Utah Mayor Wins GOP Primary for Chaffetz’s Seat

The mayor of Provo won a three-way primary against candidates backed by Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul.

Provo Mayor John Curtis won the under-the-radar primary race to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) in Utah’s Third Congressional District Tuesday evening.

Curtis defeated businessman Tanner Ainge, the son of Boston Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge, whom former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had endorsed last month.

The Provo mayor also defeated former State Rep. Chris Herrod, who earned the backing of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) and who won a spot in the primary by being nominated at the state’s convention earlier this summer.

Curtis earned the backing of Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert and the state’s largest paper, the Salt Lake Tribune.

The district is overwhelmingly Republican, making Curtis the favorite to win the special election, set for November 7. Democrats picked physician Kathie Allen to be their nominee at their state convention earlier this year.

Chaffetz’s announcement of an early retirement surprised many in Washington, D.C. and Utah. As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Chaffetz wielded significant power and influence, and at just 50 years of age was considered a rising star in the party.

First elected in 2008, Chaffetz announced in April that he had “made a personal decision to return to the private sector.” His last day in office was June 30.

If elected, Curtis would serve out the remainder of Chaffetz’s term, and then be required to run for reelection in November 2018, if he desired to hold the seat.

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