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Who's The Real Conservative? 3rd District Candidates Retread Familiar Territory In Debate


Congressman John Curtis went toe-to-toe with challenger Chris Herrod during Tuesday’s Republican primary debate for the 3rd Congressional District — rehashing many of their disagreements from last year's special election.

Among the topics they sparred over: tariffs, gun control, immigration and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Herrod also reiterated his support for President Trump's agenda on more than one occassion.

Curtis struck a more moderate tone on most issues while Herrod, a former state lawmaker, painted himself as a staunch conservative, questioning Curtis's bonafides as he had last year.

“And there is a fundamental difference," Herrod said. "My frustration is that we can’t be honest. That’s fine if you’re moderate or liberal. That’s fine. Just own it.”

But Curtis wasn’t having it.

“I’m getting a little tired of your brand of conservatism being the right brand,” said Curtis. “As if I don’t love the Constitution. ... I suppose from an extremist view, everybody’s a moderate.”

Curtis easily defeated Herrod last year in the special primary election to replace former Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who resigned abruptly to take a job at Fox News.

Herrod forced a rematch after Curtis failed to reach the required 60 percent threshold to avoid a runoff at the GOP’s nominating convention in April.


Utah’s 3rd District is one of the most conservative in the country. The winner of the June 26 primary will square off against Democrat James Singer and two other third party candidates.  

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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