Tight race in Utah's third district ahead of Tuesday's GOP primary

Tight race in Utah's third district ahead of Tuesday's GOP primary (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) It’s the home stretch of the Republican race to replace Jason Chaffetz in Congress, and things have tightened considerably.

“It’s a tossup, absolutely,” said Bryan Schott, a political expert who works at

Tanner Ainge, John Curtis, and Chris Herrod are making a last-minute push to win voters in the special election taking place from Sugar House to Blanding, in Utah’s third district.

“Curtis still has a lead,” Schott said. “I still think that that’s holding right now.”

Indeed, Curtis has at times enjoyed wide advantages over his two rivals in the polls. But after a barrage of negative ads – many from out-of-state super political action committees – that lead has dropped dramatically.

“Knowing how much out-of-state money has been targeted at my reputation, it's no surprise that the race has tightened up,” Curtis told 2News Monday evening.

Herrod, a former Utah lawmaker, has surged toward Curtis, according to a recent poll. He spent his last night of the campaign wooing voters in southern Utah.

"We felt like we had the momentum going into this weekend," said Herrod. "I'm just grateful that people are starting to look at the records. They realize that I have the conservative, proven record."

Ainge attended Monday’s “One Utah Rally” at the Utah State Capitol along with Curtis. Ainge declined to talk to 2News about the race.

“I don’t really have a good sense of who’s going to win this right now,” said Schott. “It’s going to be a super close race.”

All voting by mail had to be postmarked Monday, but third district voters can still drop off their ballots Tuesday at county drop-boxes. Some counties are also conducting in-person voting.

2News surveyed county clerks for the seven counties involved in the race – Carbon, Emery, Grand, Salt Lake, San Juan, Utah, and Wasatch. All told, as of Monday afternoon, more than 54,400 people had voted so far.

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