Provo Mayor John Curtis was declared the winner of Tuesday night’s Republican primary for the congressional race to replace Jason Chaffetz, though his main opponent had not yet conceded.
Gov. Gary Herbert introduced presumptive nominee John Curtis to a hotel ballroom full of exuberant supporters in downtown Provo shortly after he was declared the winner of the race.
Curtis defeated former state lawmaker Chris Herrod and political newcomer Tanner Ainge for the 3rd Congressional District seat vacated by Chaffetz, who stepped down this summer to join Fox News.
Although Ainge conceded to Curtis, Herrod said he wanted to wait until more ballots were counted.
Curtis weathered a barrage of attack ads and mailers funded by out-of-state Super PACs in the final weeks of the campaign that tried to paint him as insufficiently conservative.
The Provo Mayor relied on voter signatures to secure a place on the Republican primary ballot. State GOP delegates chose Herrod as their nominee at the party’s organizing convention earlier this year.
In his victory speech, Curtis credited his campaign for not turning negative.
“I’ve got a message to those PACs in Washington, D.C. and those special interests: This is my town, this is my district, go home, you wasted your money!”
Voters like Provo resident Janely Sanchez said she picked Curtis because of his track record as mayor and for his less ideological tone.
“He’s very much a moderate, and he gets a lot of criticism for it, but Utah needs to change,” she said.
Curtis will now face Democrat Kathie Allen in the general election on November 7.