PROVO, Utah — Democratic congressional candidate Devin Thorpe has rejected an offer to sign a "civility pledge" in the campaign for the 3rd Congressional District.
In an interview with FOX 13, Thorpe said Republican incumbent Congressman John Curtis' campaign offered the "civility pledge" and he declined.
"I think this is a race where integrity is more important than civility," he said. "I think civility is subjective. I think integrity is objective. Truth is truth, and we can all agree on facts. People like Donald Trump need to be held to account, and those who fail to hold them to account also need to be held accountable."
Not that Thorpe plans to be a jerk. But he said he will be clear about the differences between himself and Congressman Curtis -- which may lend itself to accusations he is being "uncivil." In his interview, he said Congressman Curtis was more inclined to take PAC money and he doesn't.
"It's conceivable that one might look at my holding the congressman to account as being 'unkind' or 'not nice,'" he said. "Those are subjective opinions."
It's a sign that Thorpe may take more aggressive approaches in the race for the 3rd District. He's challenging the moderate Rep. Curtis, who represents a very conservative district.
In a statement to FOX 13, the Curtis campaign expressed some disappointment.
"No matter how Congressman Curtis’s opponents choose to conduct themselves on the campaign trail, he will approach the campaign the same way he approaches his work in Congress — with civility. Not only is it the right thing to do, but treating people with respect gets results for Utah," the statement said. "Congressman Curtis has seen the results of this kind of respectful engagement while serving in Washington. It’s helped him pass several Utah-focused bills with near-unanimous support in a deeply-divided Congress. Congressman Curtis is getting things done for Utah in a big way — because he treats people with respect and he brings people together. Utahns should not settle for less."
Asked if his refusal to take a civility pledge might backfire on him, Thorpe said it remains to be seen. He said voters want honesty.
"I think Donald Trump has set the bar pretty low on civility and the sitting congressman has been very supportive of that uncivil president. So my refusing to pledge civility? I don't know that it can cost me much in this context," he said.