Utah Rep. John Curtis reconsidering a run for U.S. Senate next year

Television ads urging Curtis to run started airing on Salt Lake City television stations this week.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) U.S. Congressman John Curtis answers questions after speaking at the Sutherland Institute at Utah Valley University, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023.

Last month, Congressman John Curtis took a pass on running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Mitt Romney. Now, the 3rd District Republican may be close to making an about-face on that decision.

At the time, Curtis explained he would not run for Romney’s seat in 2024 because he did not want to “leave a commitment unfilled.” In a statement to The Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday, Curtis says that calculation has changed.

“The drumbeat from Utahns around the state asking me to reconsider my decision last month to stay out of the Senate race has been constant and consistent,” Curtis said. “These voices, getting louder and more organized, are increasingly difficult to ignore.

“Because so many Utahns have asked me to, I’m taking a fresh look. As part of that evaluation, I’m considering not only what is best for me and my family but what’s best for my current district and for our state. I’m counseling with friends, supporters, and my team.”

One of the factors behind Curtis’ apparent change of heart may be an ad that began airing on several Salt Lake City television stations this week from a newly formed political action committee (PAC) calling itself “Conservative Values for Utah.” The ads tout Curtis’ record in Congress and as Mayor of Provo. The ads end with the tagline, “Tell John Curtis Utah needs him to run for the U.S. Senate.” Political ad tracking firm Ad Impact says the group spent $89,000 on airtime for the ads.

There is little information available about the PAC. A filing with the Federal Election Commission shows the group was created on Oct. 30. The group’s address is a mailbox rental company in West Valley City. A media company in Virginia purchased the television ad time. The group did not respond to emails from The Tribune.

If Curtis decides to join the Senate race, he’ll join an already crowded field of Republicans seeking the nomination next year. So far, six Republicans have entered the race, including House Speaker Brad Wilson, Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, Roosevelt Mayor Rod Bird and former Mike Lee staffer Carolyn Phippen.