Questions about my party affiliation

Similar to when I first ran to be Provo’s Mayor eight years ago, I am now facing many questions about my party affiliation in this campaign for Congress. In particular, people want to know why I was once active in the Democratic Party in Utah County.

Although I’ve answered these questions thousands of times, I still haven’t found a brief way to explain my history—understanding the situation requires a few minutes. I know it will be important for some people to have a detailed reason. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my story below. If you find that you still have questions, I would be happy to speak with you about this personally. 

I had always aligned myself with Republicans. However, seventeen years ago I became concerned that we lived in an area where elected officials won based solely on their party affiliation and many were running unopposed. This resulted in a lack of checks and balances, which was not healthy and removed accountability from the process. I knew I had to try something, because without a credible challenge, office holders were not required to stand before the voters to justify their positions.

I decided to put my negotiating skills to work, and get the local Democratic Party to revise their platform so that it better represented my values and those of Utah County residents. Conservative principles like personal responsibility, limited government, and the sanctity of life were important to me then, as they are today. I wanted to give the voters a choice and I ran for the State Senate as a conservative Democrat under this new platform.

I lost that race, but gained some friends in the process. I think it’s noteworthy, for example, that my Republican opponent in that race would later go on to endorse me in my campaign for Provo’s mayor.

Ultimately the positions of the Democratic Party on many issues were too uncomfortable for me and at the urging of many Republican friends and leaders I decided to run again—this time as a Republican—for Jeff Alexander’s open seat for the Utah House of Representatives. This was a dramatic re-entry into the Republican Party, and it felt good to be involved again. 

Thanks to the informed Republican delegates who knew my history, I received the most votes of the ten Republican candidates in that race—and that was in the most Republican city in the nation. However, the State Party Chair chose another candidate. Again, my Republican opponent in that race also later endorsed me for mayor.

Once I rejoined the Republican Party, I’ve never looked back. Up until a recent home relocation, I was a delegate. I’ve been a member of the Elephant Club, a contributor to the local Republican Party and a Mitt Romney Honorary Campaign Trustee. During Governor Herbert’s recent campaign, I served as his Utah County campaign leader. My run for mayor of Provo was endorsed by the former Republican House Majority Leader, two former Republican U.S. Congressmen, all three Republican County Commissioners, the Republican County Sheriff, current and past Utah County Republican Party Leaders, and four of our city’s Republican State Senators and Representatives. 

While some have not understood my involvement, none have questioned my devotion to the conservative principles that have always made this country great. I have and always will place principles above party, and make no excuses for that.

— John

John Curtis