Frank R. Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb: Will nasty ads in 3rd District drag down John Curtis?

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

John Curtis, Tanner Ainge and Chris Herrod appear in the Republican debate for the 3rd Congressional District race at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo on Friday, July 28, 2017.

Because we are sensitive to the tender feelings of our readers, we try to avoid the carnage in Washington, D.C. So this week we focus on two topics that did not originate in the Oval Office or the Rose Garden. But, of course, we can’t escape the Washington merry-go-round entirely.

With a little more than a week before the Aug. 15 3rd Congressional District primary election, how is the race shaping up? Are the many negative ads targeting Provo Mayor John Curtis hurting his candidacy? Did the visit by Sen. Ted Cruz help Chris Herrod? Is Tanner Ainge performing as expected?

Pignanelli:I don’t think anybody deserves to be defined totally by his enemies.” — Steve Kroft

In this increasingly nasty and weird three-way primary, politicos do not need polls to determine who is leading. The aggressive actions of the campaigns and outside special-interest groups signal Curtis is the front-runner. Several ultra-conservative SuperPACs have focused their guns on the Provo mayor, who is without a PAC to fire back. When cobbled together, the strange negative attack ads condemn Curtis as a profligate lizard dressed in hipster clothing.

Insiders believe the ugly dumping is working (negative ads usually do) thereby tightening the distance between Curtis and Herrod. Further, the Cruz rally was well timed when voters received their ballots in the mail-a shrewd move by Herrod. Ainge is still an unknown.

The other dynamic is the D.C. swamp. Voters are legitimately frustrated with congressional Republicans who failed to repeal Obamacare and enact tax reform. This will likely impact the results.

National pundits will analyze the race as an indicator of GOP grumpiness and potential indicator for 2018 Republican primaries. So characterizing your opponent as a reptile may be the new campaign tactic.

Webb: One really good reason to vote for Curtis is that his opponents…

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