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Curtis, Herrod to face off for third time in 3rd District race

By Harrison Epstein - | Apr 24, 2022
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U.S. Rep. John Curtis speaks during the GOP convention at the Mountain America Convention Center in Sandy on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
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Utah County delegates listen to the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the GOP convention at the Mountain America Convention Center in Sandy on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
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Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, walks onto the stage to give his candidacy speech during the GOP convention at the Mountain America Convention Center in Sandy on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
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Chris Herrod, center, speaks with delegates after the GOP convention at the Mountain America Convention Center in Sandy on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
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Delegates listen to the beginning of the GOP convention at the Mountain America Convention Center in Sandy on Saturday, April 23, 2022.
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Chris Herrod addresses delegates during the Utah County GOP Convention at Cedar Hills High School on April 9, 2022.

Will the third time be the charm? That’s the message coming from Chris Herrod, and supporters hope Saturday was a sign it’s possible.

Herrod was the winner of the 3rd Congressional District race at the Utah Republican convention Saturday, picking up 54.7% of the vote on the second ballot compared to 45.2% for Rep. John Curtis. The two will be heading to a primary election on June 28 despite none of the candidates gathering signatures on petitions.

While Herrod gets to be the winner of the convention race, the Curtis camp was confident going into the day and heading forward.

“We knew where the delegates were, we knew 40% was in the rear-view mirror. We weren’t sure how far we were going to get toward 60% but we knew we’d be in a primary,” Adrielle Herring, Curtis’ campaign manager, told the Daily Herald. “Having a primary just means that voters will be paying attention to what John has to say.”

Sitting in the back area of the Mountain America Expo Center after everything was done, potential constituents found their way to Herrod’s booth to congratulate him on making the ballot and offer their support moving forward.

Herrod told each person he was grateful for their support and their dedication to the election process. As for what voters can look forward to in the coming months, his convention speech was a good primer.

“I think the United States is at a critical juncture between the — we’ve got cultural issues, we’ve got economic issues, we’ve got national debt, lots of issues,” Herrod said. “There is a difference philosophically to John and I, so I think we’ll just continue down that path and move forward and let the voters decide. I think there’s an undercurrent of change … so I hope we’ll catch that.”

While Curtis will spend much of the time leading up to the primary in Washington, D.C., his campaign will continue reaching out to voters and sharing his message, particularly around energy and agriculture. Curtis is an advocate for more natural gas drilling rights and expanding grazing for farmers and ranchers.

“We don’t have to make a choice between a healthy environment and a healthy economy. The best policies will create a healthy Earth, put our economy on steroids and make us secure,” Herring said.

Herrod and Curtis squared off in the 3rd District’s special election in 2017, after Rep. Jason Chaffetz resigned in the middle of the term, and then again in 2018 just months after Curtis started in Congress. But Herrod insisted that 2022 would be different. He chalks up the special election loss to Tanner Ainge running, thus splitting the conservative vote, and giving the “moderate” Curtis the seat. As for 2018, he said, “I shouldn’t have run.”

The two also came out on top after three other candidates — Jason Preston, Tim Aalders and Lyman Wight — were knocked out after the first round of voting.

In the first round, Curtis picked up 41.7% of votes, Herrod received 29.4% and Preston took 18% of the vote. Aalders and Wight finished in the back of the pack with 10.3% and 0.49%, respectively.

Preston brought showmanship to the GOP stage, coming out with Roger Stone, the longtime Republican political operative and advisor to Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon and many others.

Despite the star power and energy from his ardent supporters, Preston was eliminated in the first round.

Herrod called both Preston and Aalders “long-time friends” who were also running as more conservative options, compared to Curtis.

Looking ahead to the primary, Herrod believes that the tides have turned in the district and that he can come out ahead in the primary.

Herring, on the other hand, has full confidence that Curtis will be the GOP nominee come November. “I’m not concerned about the primary at all. I’m sure he is going to win handily,” she said.

U.S. Senate

Despite all of the attention on challengers for the GOP nod for the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Mike Lee, he was the star on Saturday. Coming out to a standing ovation, the nearly 4,000 delegates firmly backed Lee — to the tune of nearly 75% of the vote. Despite Lee’s overwhelming convention victory, he will have two opponents in the June 28 primary. Both Rep. Becky Edwards and Ally Isom earned spots on the ballot after receiving the necessary signatures on petitions. As Lee also collected the needed number of signatures, his spot on the primary ballot was guaranteed before the convention.

House District 4

Having expanded in Utah County, delegates at the state GOP convention listened to both candidates for the 4th Congressional District in incumbent Rep. Burgess Owens and challenger Jake Hunsaker. After redistricting, the district has grown to include everything west of Interstate 15 in Lehi and American Fork, including Eagle Mountain and Saratoga Springs, and everything between 400 South in Springville to the county line.

On Saturday, it was the Owens show.

Running for his second term in Congress, Owens picked up 68.8% of the convention vote compared to 31.2% for Hunsaker. Hunsaker did gather signatures and, therefore, the race will also have a primary battle in June.

In the race for the 1st Congressional District in Northern Utah, Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer was eliminated after the second round of balloting. Having not garnered signatures, Fullmer will not be in the seat’s primary election.


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