POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Rep. Curtis explains Senate turnaround, will run for House again

Oct 4, 2023, 7:00 AM

Image of Rep. John R. Curtis, who represents Utah’s 3rd District, at the American Conservation Co...

Congressman John R. Curtis, who represents Utah’s 3rd District, speaks at the American Conservation Coalition summit at the Marriott City Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 16, 2023. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. John Curtis, R-UT, has decided against running for the U.S. Senate but said he does intend to run for his House seat again in 2024.

“It feels very strongly to me that another term would be very instrumental,” he told KSL NewsRadio Tuesday.

Curtis also explained his quick turnaround on deciding not to run for Senate.

Last Thursday, Curtis rated his level of interest as a nine, on a scale of one to ten, indicating he was seriously considering seeking the Senate seat. By Monday, he penned an op-ed in the Deseret News and announced he wouldn’t run.


 

“My heart switched,” he said. “It just became very clear to me that I couldn’t feel good about doing that with the work undone that I was doing … and the commitments I had made to my district.”

Curtis didn’t want to elaborate on some personal experiences he said he had that helped him gain clarity.

“I think a couple things happened that helped me see it for what it was,” Curtis said. “They were just a couple of internal reflective moments where I said, ‘you know what, I’m not doing this for the right reason.'”

Acknowledging the lure of the U.S. Senate, Utah’s Curtis wants to keep promises

Curtis talked of the “lure” and “intoxication” of running for the Senate but outlined how he didn’t want to break the promises he made to his constituents in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District. Neither did he want to become a career politician.

“Somebody who leaves their current commitment to pursue a self-interest in a higher office is somebody who’s been in politics for too long,” Curtis said, though clarified he meant that about himself and wasn’t criticizing any of his colleagues who do that. 

Curtis said an example of that is the promises he made to those in the rural parts of his district. He said these are constituents who rely heavily production of oil, gas, and coal that by and large are on federal lands. 

“I just went to the Basin and told these people I was their guy … that I would fight their battles … and am I really going to just turn my back on them because I have a wonderful opportunity?” 

Curtis also said he wants to finish work on “changing the dialog” through his conservative climate efforts and his work with the Energy and Commerce Committee. He said he’s also very involved in data privacy and AI discussions in committees that he wants to continue.

“It took me three years to get on the committee I want to serve on and I’ve only been here six,” Curtis said.

“I’m in a position to do a lot of good here and that’s why people sent me here.”

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Rep. Curtis explains Senate turnaround, will run for House again