The Latest: GOP debate gets heated over ex-Democratic ties

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PROVO, Utah (AP) — The Latest on a debate between three Republican candidates vying to replace U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (all times local):

8:40 p.m.

A candidate's onetime Democratic party membership is bringing heat to the Republican contest in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Provo mayor John Curtis defended himself Friday, saying his principles hadn't changed despite a past "fling with the dark side."

Political newcomer Tanner Ainge brought up his opponent's former role as a local Democratic party chair some two decades ago, and said he would stick to his conservative principles if elected.

Former lawmaker Chris Herrod backed Ainge, saying that he's a lifelong conservative who's previously been "beaten up" for his views.


7:15 p.m.

Utah Republicans vying to replace U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz are decrying the failure to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's health care law.

Provo Mayor John Curtis said during a Friday debate that lawmakers moved too quickly in a process that wasn't transparent.

Former lawmaker Chris Herrod said the health care vote shows why the debate for Chaffetz's replacement is important and touted his conservative record.

Tanner Ainge, son of Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, says it's incredibly unfortunate that the law known as Obamacare hasn't been repealed.


3:45 p.m.

Republican candidates vying for the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz are set to debate topics ranging from health care to religious freedom.

Candidates John Curtis, Chris Herrod and Tanner Ainge are expected to appear at the Utah Valley Convention Center for the Friday night debate.

The event is hosted by the Hinckley Institute of Politics and The Salt Lake Tribune. It will be moderated by Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce and Hinckley Institute director Jason Perry.

Curtis is the mayor of Provo, Christopher Herrod is a former lawmaker and Tanner Ainge is an investment adviser and son of Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge.

The candidates will face off in a Republican primary election in August. The winner will go up against Democratic physician Kathie Allen and other third-party candidates.

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