Rep. John Curtis will remain in control of Utah’s 3rd Congressional District seat.
Preliminary results indicate that Curtis will win by a sizable lead, which was established early in the night. Curtis, the Republican, faced Democratic challenger and Salt Lake Community College professor, James Courage Singer.
Curtis, who served as the former mayor of Provo, received his current position in a special election held in early 2017, after then-Rep. Jason Chaffetz resigned and went to work for Fox News.
The district encompasses much of southeast Utah and includes a significant portion of Utah County.
Read on to review each candidate’s stances on critical issues.
One issue important to many Utahns is how we should be managing our public lands.
In an email interview, Curtis stated that if re-elected he would “preserve and protect these resources by investing in their long-term success.”
“The state and federal governments should be working together to make the best decisions possible,” Curtis said.
In the past, Curtis has proposed legislation that would make commercial use of public lands more accessible.
When asked his view on public land management, Singer stated that he saw Utah’s public lands as “the last vestige of what we consider the commons.”
“We have a hard time understanding that as Americans these days, because everything is so privatized and individualized,” Singer said.
He pointed out that he himself is Native American, and in the past, tribes in Utah had worked with the federal government to protect public lands like Bears Ears. Singer said that he sees the issue as a last “point of resistance” noting that public lands are something we all own as Americans.
With how split public opinion is over the current presidential administration, many Utah citizens were interested in hearing about how their candidates would plan on working with President Trump.
Singer and Curtis shared a similar view of working alongside the president while acting as watchdogs for their constituents’ values and beliefs.
Curtis made clear his stance of keeping an eye on the president while also working alongside him, as long as the president acts in the interest of his constituents.
“I’ll be the first person to express support,” Curtis said.
He also added he would be “quick to point out when tone or position isn’t consistent with Utah and our values.”
Singer expressed concern over the current administration, however.
“Even people from his own party are saying it’s hard to work with him because of what his character is like,” Singer said.
Another measure on the ballot was Proposition 2, which would legalize medical cannabis in Utah.
“While I haven’t joined any formal organization or coalition in outspoken opposition, I don’t plan on voting in favor this November,” Curtis said, when asked about his thoughts on the measure. “I’ve been an advocate for medical marijuana and the research needed for the states to make a decision.”
This stance is similar to many other Utah conservatives who support medical marijuana, but only if the correct research has been done and proper safeguards have been taken.
Singer’s views were more liberal, as he fully supported Proposition 2.
“Marijuana seems to be helping patients,” Singer said. “In Congress, I would like [to] make medical cannabis legal, and move towards [legalizing] recreational, too.”