Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
FILE – From left, Chris Herrod, Tanner Ainge and John Curtis appear in the Republican debate for the 3rd Congressional District primary race at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo on Friday, July 28, 2017.
SALT LAKE CITY — Three candidates and two political action committees are making the Republican primary vote in Utah’s already unique election to replace former Rep. Jason Chaffetz even more interesting because of what it says about politics.
• It’s about relationships and spin.
• It’s about playing in the gray areas of messaging to win voters, sometimes taking things out of context and manipulating facts.
• It’s about using reports in media and the credibility of news organizations to gain an advantage.
• It’s about money — who has the most to spend, where it comes from and ultimately, how it is used.
That’s not all politics is about. There are candidates who have genuine desires to serve their constituents and make a difference, and that might describe all who are vying for the 3rd Congressional District seat from all parties. But the path to get there is rocky and proves challenging for the voter who needs to cut through the noise of the campaign season to find the best person for the job.
John Curtis, Chris Herrod and Tanner Ainge are running in the Republican primary each hoping to be their party’s choice to face off against other parties’ representatives in the general election. The primary election is Tuesday, but mail-in ballots have been coming in for two weeks, as has money now approaching nearly $1 million in spending, from super PACs unbound by any campaign finance limits.
Two super PACs, the Conservative Utah PAC in support of Ainge and seeded with $250,000 from the candidate’s family, and Club4Growth supporting Herrod with a large national war chest, offer both help and cover for the candidates.
Neither Ainge nor Herrod nor their campaign teams can have any input into what the super PACS are doing. Negative ads, positive ads, attacks, supporting statements — whatever…