Herrod, who is vying for a seat in Utah’s 3rd congressional district, specifically took aim at Black Lives Matter, ESG, critical race theory and mask mandates.
While Utah’s 3rd congressional district Rep. John Curtis and GOP candidate Chris Herrod share the same party, a debate sponsored by the Utah Republican Party on Friday revealed where the two differ no only on policy issues but also on approach.
The Utah GOP opposed a series of debates hosted by the Utah Independent Debate Commission after being denied influence over moderators and questions. Utah Republican Party Chairman Carson Jorgensen moderated Friday’s debate. Herrod said he would participate in a Commission debate on Wednesday; Curtis said he wouldn’t.
“There are two different wings in the Republican Party,” Herrod said in his closing statement, standing in an auditorium on the Brigham Young University campus. “If you’re more aligned with Mitt Romney and Spencer Cox, then I’m probably not your man. But if you think the days of being on the fence or in the middle are over, then I am.
Curtis, on the other hand, focused on his experience as a congressman and former mayor of Provo.
“I’m thrilled to have this hour to report to you on my last four years,” Curtis told the crowd of several dozen.
He referenced the 14 bills he passed during his time in Congress and pointed to his seat on the “powerful” House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“You can’t pass legislation if you don’t know how to work with people, if you can’t work across the aisle and get things done,” Curtis said. “That’s what I was able to do.”
Where Curtis repeatedly stressed the need to cross the aisle and work with others to pass laws, Herrod, from the other pulpit, firmly embraced Trumpism and right-wing talking points, promising to form coalitions of like-minded conservatives to achieve legislative goals.
“I am the only candidate in this race who has been willing to speak out against critical race theory,” Herrod said. “…I criticized Black Lives Matter for its Marxist origins.”
Answering further questions, he compared the environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings given to companies for investment purposes to fascism, suggested scrapping the Department of Education and said his children “have been greatly harmed by the mask mandates”.
He also insinuated that Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if former President Donald Trump had been re-elected and took sideways swipes at the “many Republicans” who did not support Trump’s candidacies.
Despite their differences, the two agreed to limit federal power and overturn Roe v. Wade. Curtis wondered why aborted children don’t get the same attention as those killed in school shootings.
Herrod took the opportunity to express his support for Trump.
“We’re overruling Roe v. Wade because of President Trump and the three positions [Supreme Court positions] that he has done. And I, like many here in the state of Utah, am extremely happy,” he said.
The last question of the night was about protecting children in school while respecting the Second Amendment.
Curtis responded first and said rifts in families, communities and churches allowed events such as school shootings to take place. While he said he would consider solutions that fit within the Second Amendment, he pointed to the complexity of mass shootings.
“I think it’s very, very important that we look at these issues with their many, many layers and not fool ourselves into thinking there’s a quick answer that we could provide,” he said. . “It’s not a quick fix for mental health. This is not a quick fix for guns.
He later said, “I’m a Second Amendment guy.”
Herrod said the invasion of Ukraine is a cautionary tale about the need for the Second Amendment and that more of the “COVID money” should have been spent on implementing protective measures in communities. schools.
“My position on the Second Amendment has not changed,” he said.
The primary between the two will take place on June 28 and is open to members of the Republican Party.
The winner of the primary will qualify for the November 8 general election.