- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 26, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — U.S. Rep. John Curtis is locked in a rematch against conservative businessman Chris Herrod in Utah’s Republican primary Tuesday and hoping to prevail to seek his first full term in Congress.

Curtis, 58, entered office last year following a special election to replace Jason Chaffetz, an outspoken GOP congressman who became a Fox News contributor after stepping down.

Herrod, a former state lawmaker and staunch conservative who received support from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in 2017, was one of Curtis’s GOP opponents in the special election. Curtis handily won the three-way primary that also included business consultant Tanner Ainge.

Now Herrod, 52, is back for round two, and claiming to offer voters a conservative alternative in line with President Donald Trump.

He’s characterized Curtis, a former Democrat, as a moderate and sparred with him on immigration, gun rights and tariffs.

Herrod has supported building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, worries that school safety initiatives could undermine the Second Amendment and said Trump should be credited for his handling of trade disputes.

Curtis, a former Provo mayor, has said he’s in step with Utah Republicans, many of whom are conflicted about the president.

He’s expressed doubts about a border wall, been willing to explore restrictions on who can purchase guns and critical of recent tariffs from the Trump administration. Curtis ran a shooting range manufacturing business before becoming mayor of the Mormon stronghold of Provo.

Curtis won a majority of delegate votes at Utah’s Republican convention in April, but came just shy of the 60 percent threshold needed to win the party’s nomination outright.

His 3rd Congressional District runs from the suburbs of Salt Lake City through Provo and to the rural red rocks of the state’s southeast corner.

Curtis raised $137,000 in the two months ahead of the election and spent $145,000, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures.

Herrod raised just $13,000 and spent $7,000.

The winner will advance to the general election against Democrat James Singer, a college professor who co-founded the Utah League of Native American Voters. The Republican will be the heavy favorite.

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