Provo Mayor John Curtis will be the next congressman for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District after he won a landslide special election Tuesday night to replace former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who resigned in June
Curtis defeated his nearest rival, Democratic nominee Dr. Kathie Allen by more than 33,000 votes — a margin of nearly 30 points — in the heavily conservative district that encompasses Utah County, parts of Salt Lake County and almost all of southeastern Utah, including Grand County.
In addition to facing Dr. Allen, Curtis also outran Jim Bennett, the son of the late former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett and the nominee from the new United Utah party. Bennett sued the State of Utah to get the party on the ballot and, as a result, United Utah became the state’s first official third party to run in elections.
After the results came in on Tuesday — and after fielding a concession call from Dr. Allen — Curtis spoke with The Times-Independent, saying he was taking “a big step in life,” though he said he has to learn his way around Washington D.C. before getting down to legislation on Capitol Hill and working with President Donald Trump.
“If you can allow me a light moment, my first priority is to figure my way around and figure out where my [office] will be,” Curtis said jokingly before turning serious about his future on Capitol Hill. “As the Mayor of Provo, I tried very hard not to be the stereotypical politician and it’s very important to me that people don’t see me as a typical politician. I’m not going to act like that. I think we’ll make the most progress if they think of me as someone that works for them, especially in rural Utah, and I am anxious to get to work and see what we can do.”
In his victory address to supporters, Curtis also pledged to be a problem-solver, to find common ground and to be what he calls “a unifier.”
“Common ground is the starting point to finding solutions,” Curtis said. “Far too often, one side or the other can’t wait to pick apart any idea that isn’t their own. We need bridge-builders not bomb-throwers. Together, we can find solutions. Not all of them, in fact, many of them, won’t be government fixes. Our government performs best when we are seeking to empower a free people so they can flourish. All Utahns know that what makes America great isn’t our government, it’s our people.”