Republican John Curtis wins Utah House special election

Republican John Curtis, speaks during Utah's 3rd Congressional District debate, in a race to replace Jason Chaffetz in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, in Sandy, Utah. Curtis is running against Democrat Dr. Kathryn Allen, United Utah Party's Jim Bennett, and Libertarian Joe Buchman. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Story highlights

  • House seat will remain in Republican hands
  • Only major GOP victory in big night for Democrats

Washington (CNN)Republican John Curtis has beat opponents Kathie Allen and Jim Bennett in Utah's 3rd District special election, CNN projects.

Curtis will succeed Republican Jason Chaffetz, who left the House in June and now serves as a Fox News contributor.
The 3rd district includes the cities of Orem and Provo, where Curtis serves as mayor. He faced two main opponents in the 3rd District's general election: Democrat Kathie Allen, a physician and anti-gerrymandering advocate, and the United Utah Party's Jim Bennett, son of Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah.
    Curtis had been polling strongly in the general election race. An October 17 Salt Lake Tribune-Hinckley Institute of Politics survey showed he led the race by 27 points.
    During the election campaign, Curtis garnered key state and national endorsements, including from current Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, former Utah Gov. Mitt Romney, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, and Chaffetz.
    In the Republican primary, Curtis distanced himself from President Donald Trump during a GOP candidate forum, according to NPR.
    "I don't mind telling you I struggled with that presidential election, and in the end I didn't vote for any of the candidates on the ballot. Because none of them had earned my vote," he said.
    But in an October Salt Lake Tribune op-ed, Curtis said he would be by Trump's side on issues where they align, but clarified that he "will not support any proposal that bullies or disrespects any human being."
    If Curtis, a proponent of tax reform, is sworn in swiftly he could plan a key role in tax cuts vote. Trump has given Congress a Christmas deadline to push forward a bill on the issue.