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  Rep. John Curtis and primary challenger Chris Herrod spar over differences in debate
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ContributorKyle 
Last EditedKyle  May 30, 2018 02:31pm
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AuthorLisa Riley Roche
News DateWednesday, May 30, 2018 08:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionPROVO — Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, and his GOP primary opponent, former state lawmaker Chris Herrod, sparred in their first debate Tuesday over whether Curtis is conservative enough for 3rd Congressional District voters.

"I'm getting a little tired of your brand of conservatism being the right brand, as if I don't love the Constitution, as if I don't love this country as much as you do," Curtis said. "I suppose from the extremist view, everybody's a moderate."

The newest member of Utah's congressional delegation, elected last November in a special election to replace former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, was responding to an accusation made by Herrod that his votes in Congress expanded government.

"It's not easy being conservative," Herrod said when asked to list the votes. Instead, Herrod said taxes went up during Curtis' time as mayor of Provo. "My frustration is that we can't be honest. It's fine if you're moderate or liberal. … Just own it."

Curtis said repeatedly throughout the hourlong debate sponsored by the Utah Debate Commission and held at KBYU-TV that he has held 50 town halls since being elected, and is "right in line" with his constituents.

The pair, who, along with political newcomer Tanner Ainge, previously squared off in last year's special election Republican primary, disagreed on a number of issues, including President Donald Trump's tariffs on China and various products.

Herrod said although in general he opposes tariffs, Trump should be given credit for being willing to go "to the brink" in imposing the taxes, intended to protect domestic markets by making foreign products more expensive.

Curtis, however, said tariffs were an area in which he disagrees with the president. He said Trump's tariffs are too broad-based and "not in Utah's best interest" because they are hurting businesses in the state.

Herrod reminded the audience he campaigned for Trump before the 2016 election and is behind the president's agenda, especially on buil
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