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SALT LAKE CITY — Look for TV commercials to start airing Monday in the special election to fill the 3rd Congressional District seat vacated at the end of June by former Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
Chris Herrod, who served in the Utah Legislature, has bought time on at least three local TV stations, including KSL, for a commercial comparing other politicians to chameleons, "always changing colors."
He is competing with Provo Mayor John Curtis and Alpine lawyer Tanner Ainge in the Aug. 15 Republican primary. The winner of that race will face Democrat Kathie Allen and several minor party candidates on the November ballot.
Curtis' campaign manager, Danny Laub, said he would not speculate on whether Herrod hitting the airwaves first would give him an advantage.
"We’ve been running our race. We’re going to come out very quickly with a robust plan to get John’s message out," Laub said, describing that as a "conservative message of bringing Utah values to D.C.”
Ainge intends to begin running TV commercials "as soon as possible," his campaign spokesman, Peter Watkins, said. "We think Tanner has the best message of being a principled conservative who can get things done, and that's our focus."
Herrod's 30-second spot that begins with the image of a bug-eyed chameleon highlights his efforts as a state lawmaker to reduce taxes and limit government, and his time at BYU and as a teacher in the former Soviet Union.
He also promises in the commercial to follow through with promises made by Republicans in Washington to repeal Obamacare and build the wall along the Mexican border sought by President Donald Trump.
"Here in Utah, we know actions speak louder than words," Herrod says in the commercial.
A recent UtahPolicy.com poll showed Curtis leading Herrod and Ainge in the special primary election race, but nearly half of voters, 49 percent, said they were undecided.
Chaffetz, first elected in 2008, stepped down June 30 to become a Fox News contributor. The 3rd District includes portions of Salt Lake and Utah counties, as well as Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan and Wasatch counties.