3rd district candidates try to break out of the pack at debate in Provo

3rd district candidates try to break out of the pack at debate in Provo. (Photo: Jay Hancock / KUTV)

(KUTV) Five candidates hoping to claim the third district congressional seat formerly held by Jason Chaffetz met to debate Tuesday evening in Provo.

Republicans Tanner Ainge, John Curtis, and Chris Herrod were joined by Libertarian Joe Buchman and Independent Jason Christensen for an exchange that lasted nearly 90 minutes.

Curtis, the mayor of Provo, came into the debate riding high after a poll showed him ahead of the pack with 29 percent support. Herrod had 12 percent in the poll and Ainge had 10 percent, with 49 percent undecided.

"I believe I'm the right candidate to take these values back to Washington D.C.," said Curtis. "Take our values to them instead of them bringing their values to us."

But Curtis came with a target on his back. When he told the crowd the federal government's proper role included overseeing currency, Buchman pounced.

"Mr. Mayor, I apologize but I get to correct you," he said. "As someone who earned a PhD and an MBA in finance, the Federal Reserve is a private bank."

Besides that, the debate was largely friendly. The candidates agreed on most issues from health care to taxes to education. KNRS radio personality Rod Arquette moderated the evening.

Herrod, a former state lawmaker, touted himself as the candidate with a conservative record.

"My life has taught me how fortunate we are to live in this great country," Herrod said, "for the constitution we have and the free market."

Ainge, a political newcomer from Alpine and son of Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, worked to introduce himself to voters.

"To my very core," Ainge said, "when I see a problem that needs to be resolved, I can't stop working until I see it through."

As for Christensen, the Independent candidate said his run was inspired from on high.

"The prompting did come through God, through Providence, that I am to file," Christensen said. "But here's the kicker -- not just file, but not campaign."

Christensen said his mission is to promote his political party. He and Buchman will appear on the general election ballot in November. Just one Republican will. The winner will be decided in an August 15 primary election.

Democrat Kathryn Allen is also running for the seat.

Watch the whole debate here:

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