Utah Republicans divided in battle for Chaffetz's House seat

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 16, 2017

Curtis, the target of most of the out-of-state attack ads, has faced suspicion and criticism from some Republicans for his 2000 run as a Democrat for the state Legislature and his time leading a county Democratic party.

Election officials have explained that unaffiliated voters can vote in the primary if they come to the polls and register as Republicans on Election Day.

They also say unaffiliated votes for Republican candidates won't be counted.

David Nelson, a pharmaceutical representative from Salem, Utah, said he thinks Curtis' Democratic past shows he's not a conservative.

Curtis has served eight years as the mayor of Provo, where he helped negotiate a deal for Google to take over the city's troubled fiber-optic system and instead give the city of about 117,000 people the company's high-speed Google Fiber internet service, including free basic internet for all residents.

She says Ainge hasn't lived in Utah long enough to understand the culture.

A primary contest between three Republicans running for a Utah congressional seat held by Jason Chaffetz has tightened ahead of Tuesday's election, the victor of which is expected to cruise to victory in November's special election.

The victor of Tuesday's GOP primary is expected to cruise to victory in November's special election in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats five-to-one. "You don't have to be a seasoned politician". The 57-year-old identifies today as a conservative Republican and points out that Ronald Reagan, Trump and Chaffetz were all Democrats at one point. "I think you're qualified by being passionate, you know the issues".

Muir, the city treasurer for the Salt Lake City suburb of Cottonwood Heights, says he's not anxious about Curtis' Democratic past that led his critics and opponents to question his conservative credentials.

He says Putin is a "chess player" who has distracted Democrats and the media into focusing on Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with Trump associates. "The person is more important and their character".

Martin Wilkins, a 39-year-old UPS worker from Orem, said Ainge seems like a nice guy but is too young and inexperienced.

Elections director Mark Thomas said that number is expected to rise as people go to the polls to vote Tuesday. He said that wasn't unexpected because five of the seven counties offered mail-in voting.

Herrod, 51, is a home loan officer in Provo who served five years in Utah's Legislature, where he was known for his strict immigration views, including a proposal to punish businesses with workers who were in the US illegally and a fight against a Republican guest-worker proposal.

Moderate Utah Republicans have backed a popular mayor, John Curtis, who was once a Democrat and said he had strong moral concerns that kept him from voting for Trump.

The victor of Tuesday's race will be the odds-on favorite to win the November general election in the heavily Republican district.

Three GOP candidates hoping to replace Jason Chaffetz in Congress face off in a primary election Tuesday.

Chaffetz abruptly stepped down from his seat in June after making a name for himself as the Republican who relentlessly investigated Hillary Clinton and her emails while he was chairman of the House Oversight Committee.

The victor of Tuesday's race is expected to win the general election in November.

His father Danny Ainge is remembered in the state as a former BYU basketball star who went on to play in the NBA, where he's now the president of the Boston Celtics.

So far, out-of-state organizations and superPACs have spent about $900,000 - on top of about $600,000 in campaign contributions collected by the three Republican candidates.

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