Curtis wins GOP primary for House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz

Curtis wins GOP primary for House seat vacated by Jason Chaffetz
© Haiyun Jiang

Provo, Utah Mayor John Curtis won the Republican nomination Tuesday in a race to fill the House seat vacated by former Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzIngraham’s ratings spike a wake-up for advertisers Boehner to campaign for House GOP candidates Americans want to protect public lands, Congress should listen MORE (R-Utah) in June. 

Curtis, the only GOP candidate in the race not to vote for President Trump in the November 2016 election, topped former state lawmaker Chris Herrod by nearly 12 percent and lawyer Tanner Ainge by about 15 percent, according to preliminary election results.

During the GOP primary for Utah's 3rd congressional district, Curtis faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in attack ads run by out-of-state groups that sought to cast him as weak on benchmark conservative issues like lowering taxes.

 His victory on Tuesday sets him up for a clear victory in the state's special election in November. Democrats are not expected to heavily contest the district, where Republicans outnumber Democrats 5-1, according to The Associated Press.

During his primary campaign, Herrod won the endorsements of key conservatives in Congress, such as Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senator: Democratic opposition to Pompeo 'driven 100 percent by politics' Pompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel CIA declassifies memo on nominee's handling of interrogation tapes MORE (R-Ky.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz's Dem challenger slams Time piece praising Trump Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election 32 male senators back Senate women's calls to change harassment rules MORE (R-Texas).

The special election is among seven to be held this year. Five lawmakers left their seats to take on roles in President Trump's administration. 

Chaffetz announced earlier this year that he would step down from the House, where he served as the chairman of the powerful Oversight Committee. 

Since vacating his seat at the end of June, Chaffetz has taken on a job as a Fox News commentator, though he has left open the possibility of a future run for office.

Curtis is set to face off against Democrat Kathie Allen, a physician, and third-party candidate Jim Bennett, the son of former U.S. Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah), in the November special election.