PROVO, Utah -- Republican John Curtis coasted to an easy victory on Tuesday night, winning the special election for 3rd Congressional District.
Curtis was ahead of Democrat Kathie Allen and Jim Bennett, a member of the upstart United Utah Party in early returns, with almost 60% of the vote. By about 9 p.m., both Allen and Bennett conceded the race.
In his victory speech, the former Provo mayor struck a moderate tone toward his supporters. He vowed to hold town hall meetings and "stay accessible." He also reached out to those who voted against him and pledged to listen.
"I pledge to serve the under-represented," he said. "That means if you're not white, Mormon and male, I am still here for you."
Curtis later said he represented all 708,809 people in Utah's 3rd Congressional District.
"Those that know me best know that it doesn't matter if you're 9 or 90, rich or poor, gay or straight, Mormon or athiest, Navajo or Caucuasian," Curtis said. "I work for you and you're my boss."
Allen said in an interview with FOX 13 that even though she was defeated, she still planned to work to change the political climate in Utah.
“I am profoundly disappointed, I really hoped that I could break through the stereotyping that is so endemic of voting straight-party,” she said.
Bennett called this the beginning of the United Utah Party.
“Nine percent isn’t enough to win an election, but it’s enough to realize we are a force to be reckoned with in Utah politics,” he told FOX 13.
Curtis entered the race after Jason Chaffetz quit about seven months into his second term in congress. (Chaffetz is now a commentator on FOX News Channel.)
The race drew a number of candidates from across the political spectrum. Curtis gathered signatures, which put him in a primary with fellow Republican Chris Herrod, who won at the GOP convention. Curtis emerged out of the primary election.
He gets to do it all over again next year, when he will run to retain his seat in congress.