The sixth House special election of the year will understandably be drowned out Tuesday by the more high-profile governor races in Virginia and New Jersey, and even the New York mayoral race.
While four of the five House specials already held this year were decided by some 6 points or less, including in Republican-leaning seats in Kansas and South Carolina, the race for Utah’s 3rd District is expected to join the contest for Xavier Becerra’s former seat in Los Angeles as an exception to the run of close margins.
The decisive moments in this race happened on the Republican side over the summer, when former state Rep. Chris Herrod emerged from the June convention and Provo Mayor John Curtis prevailed in the August primary.
The presence of four third-party candidates, including the late Republican Sen. Bob Bennett’s son, Jim Bennett, will limit Curtis’s winning percentage against Democratic physician Kathie Allen. But the race is not expected to be close; a poll conducted in mid-October found Curtis at 46 percent to Allen’s 19 percent and Bennett’s 9 percent.
Still, the race is notable for a couple of reasons: It’s to replace Jason Chaffetz, the former Oversight committee chairman, and it was the first congressional vacancy of the cycle not caused by an administration appointment, which includes Becerra moving back to California to serve as attorney general.
— Kyle Trygstad