Rep. John Curtis officially running for Romney’s Senate seat

Jan 2, 2024, 5:00 PM | Updated: 8:07 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s 3rd District Rep. John Curtis is officially running for U.S. Senate, hoping to fill the upcoming empty seat that Sen. Mitt Romney is leaving.

On Tuesday, Curtis told KSL TV that one of the reasons he is running for the Senate is because he believes he can take his work from the House of Representatives, specifically on energy and climate, and have a bigger platform.

“I think part of my aha moment was I can do all of those and actually have a bigger platform and accomplish more,” Curtis said.

Curtis first teased that he would be running for the seat in late September, saying he was very seriously considering the seat, but four days later penned an op-ed in which he said that leaving his district would be “leaving commitments unfulfilled.” He even went so far as to say he intended to run for his House seat again.

“The second I made the announcement that I was not going to run, I started to have people reach out to me asking me to reconsider,” Curtis said. “The very people who had made that commitment to were a lot of those voices who said, you can actually serve us better in the Senate than you can in the House. And so without that, I don’t I don’t think I could have changed my mind.”

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, poses for a photograph at the Deseret News offices in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023. (Deseret News, Spenser Heaps)

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, poses for a photograph at the Deseret News offices in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2023. (Deseret News, Spenser Heaps)

Curtis is currently representing Utah’s 3rd Congressional district, meaning he’ll vacate that seat — setting off a cascade of shifting in Utah politics in 2024. He believes he is well-positioned to transition to the Senate.

“I actually carry my seniority with me from the House to the Senate, so I won’t start as number 100. I think that’s very important for the state. I also bring that experience of how to pass legislation,” Curtis said.

He also touted his record of passing 19 bills and being rated as one of the most effective members of the House.

“I bring that, and then I also bring a Utah focus. People know that I’m not the guy who wakes up and tries to get on TV at night. I wake up and say, ‘What can I do for the district?’ And I think people have really appreciated that.”

Utah’s open Senate race

Still, the race for the Senate seat vacated by Romney already has a crowded Republican field. So far, several Republicans are vying to be the nominee for the state-wide seat, which hasn’t had a Democrat since the 1970s.

Former Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson announced his intent to run in late September.

Wilson’s campaign issued a statement on Curtis’s announcement saying, “Utahns from every corner of the state are rallying behind Brad Wilson because Brad is the only candidate who’s a conservative fighter that does things the Utah Way, not the Washington Way. Utahns want a bold conservative in the Senate who will shatter the status quo, not another DC career politician.”

Other republicans who have made their intentions known include Brent Hatch, son of the late Orin Hatch, Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, Rod Bird, Carolyn Phippen, Ty Jensen, Clay White and Josh Randall.

Young Republicans, political observers weigh in on Romney decision to not run again

Utah’s open CD 3 race

As of Monday, Sen. Mike Kennedy had made his intentions known to run for the seat vacated by Curtis.

Stuart Paey also posted to X that he is running for the now open seat.

On the Democratic side, Glenn Wright is also running for the CD3 seat. He set up a campaign website, Glenn Wright for Congress.

Monday was the first day of the filing deadline and with Curtis’ plans unknown until now, many candidates may have been waiting on his announcement to officially file or even decide whether to run. The last day to file is Monday, January 8 at 5 p.m.

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Rep. John Curtis officially running for Romney’s Senate seat