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The Latest: Utah House candidates try to link Curtis, Trump

October 14, 2017

SANDY, Utah (AP) — The Latest on a candidate debate in the special election to replace Republican Jason Chaffetz in Congress (all times local):

9 p.m.

Candidates running to replace Republican Jason Chaffetz in Congress are trying to tie front-runner Republican John Curtis to President Donald Trump, who struggled last year to gain favor with Utah’s conservative but Mormon-majority population.

United Utah Party candidate Jim Bennett used a Friday night debate in Sandy to repeatedly link Curtis, the mayor of Provo, to the president and his policies, including a controversial plan for a border wall.

Curtis, who has said he supports the president’s agenda, didn’t challenge the comments aligning him with the president but instead struck careful stances on issues like immigration, saying he supports a wall in some areas along the U.S.-Mexico border but technology may be needed to secure other parts.

He told reporters afterward that no one asks about Trump on the campaign trail and he wants to talk about his own message.

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12:30 p.m.

A Republican Utah mayor considered the front-runner in a race to replace Jason Chaffetz in the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to carefully embrace President Donald Trump’s agenda during a Friday night debate while distancing himself from the president.

John Curtis, the popular mayor of the Mormon stronghold of Provo, is set to appear in a Friday night debate against Democratic candidate Dr. Kathryn Allen, United Utah Party candidate Jim Bennett and Libertarian Joe Buchman.

Curtis has a heavy advantage in the special election as the GOP candidate in Utah’s heavily Republican 3rd Congressional District.

But his muddled support for the president has complicated his campaign.

He apologized last month and pulled campaign ads calling for Congress to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall and “stop sanctuary cities,” after his opponents criticized the ads as insensitive.

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