SALT LAKE CITY — Republican Rep. John Curtis has 68% of votes in early returns in his race for reelection against Democratic challenger Devin Thorpe, who received 28% of votes, in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District.
Curtis has served as the U.S. representative for the district since winning the seat in a special election three years ago. Prior to joining Congress, he was Provo’s mayor from 2010 to 2017.
Thorpe is an author and podcaster who resides outside of the 3rd District, which encompasses much of southeastern Utah and parts of Salt Lake and Utah counties. The Salt Lake City resident registered as a Democrat earlier this year and formerly served as an aide to then U.S. Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah.
Interestingly, both candidates have switched between the two major parties. Curtis, formerly a Democrat, said he finds Republican values, especially fiscal conservatism, to better align with his personal ideology.
Thorpe said that while his “values haven’t changed,” he believes Democrats often come to better solutions than members of the Republican Party.
In their debate leading up to Election Day, the candidates clashed on issues such as health care and Curtis’ voting record on climate change legislation.
Curtis said he did not believe the Affordable Care Act would be repealed, and he would only vote to do so if a replacement was set up beforehand.
The two candidates verbally sparred after Thorpe claimed that Curtis had previously voted to allow those with preexisting health conditions to not be covered.
Curtis said the idea that he and other Republicans want to deprive health care from those with preexisting conditions was “an absolute fabrication and lie.”
On environmental issues, Curtis claimed he is one of the few Republicans who has pushed for measures to combat climate change.
“I’ve tried really hard to be a conservative voice on the environment,” Curtis said during the debate on Oct. 15.
However, Thorpe challenged his voting record on the issue, saying “actions speak louder than words.”
Thorpe said the congressman had never voted for a bill designed to reduce carbon emissions and had repeatedly supported bills that would further the use of fossil fuels.