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Utah Democrats Tap Well-Funded Kathie Allen For Congress

Nicole Nixon

Democratic delegates have selected Dr. Kathie Allen as their candidate in the special election to replace Congressman Jason Chaffetz. She won the nomination with 77% of the delegate vote over progressive activist Ben Frank and environmentalist Carl Ingwell.

Allen announced her candidacy in February, after she tweeted a response to Chaffetz’ controversial remark about choosing between health care and an iPhone. Her tweet was shared widely and she started a crowdfunding PAC that quickly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As a family physician, Allen says her number one issue is getting health care for everyone.

"I lived that," Allen says. "I know what it’s like to have no insurance. I know what it’s like to have terrible insurance where you can’t get specialty care. That’s what keeps people awake in the middle of the night."

Even though she has nearly $700,000 in her campaign war chest, Allen faces an uphill battle in the third district, which is one of the most conservative congressional districts in the country. But she’s hoping to follow the national trend of special elections with competitive democrats in conservative districts.

"You saw what happened with (Jon) Ossoff and all the other (races)," Allen says. "I don’t think I’ll have any trouble keeping in the public eye."

With the race for the Republican nomination headed for a primary, Allen notes her GOP challenger won’t emerge for another two months.

"While they’re trying to figure out who their nominee is, I’ll be introducing myself to the community," Allen says, adding that she's already made several trips around the district, including a recent visit to San Juan County. 

And she says she’ll keep fundraising. Allen says she’s added about $100,000 since Chaffetz announced his plans to resign early last month.

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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