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Two Republicans competing in the congested race for outgoing Rep. Jason Chaffetz's seat have secured their spots on the primary ballot seemingly assuring a three-way race in the Aug. 15 primary.
The state elections office on Wednesday finished verifying the signatures collected by Provo Mayor John Curtis and investment adviser Tanner Ainge (son of Boston Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge). Both candidates met the 7,000-signature requirement.
Curtis and Ainge will join with the third Republican hopeful selected at Saturday's GOP convention. Front-runners for that include state Sens. Deidre Henderson and Margaret Dayton and state Rep. Brad Daw.
Ainge submitted nearly 9,000 signatures a week before the deadline. Getting on the ballot, he said, is "the first step to winning the Republican nomination."
"This exciting news confirms that we will be one of only two or three campaigns to survive the weekend and advance toward the August primary," he said.
Blowing past expectations and doubts, Curtis turned over more than 15,000 names to the elections office Monday. He celebrated his certification just two days later.
"I am overwhelmed by your support and confidence in the unique qualities that make us successful in Provo that will translate to success in moving the needle in the right direction in Washington," he wrote on Facebook.
Four other candidates including two Democrats attempted to gather signatures but were unable to reach the threshold with the expedited special election timeline.
Chaffetz plans to step down from his seat June 30. Some 21 candidates are currently in the race to replace the congressman heading into the winnowing that occurs at the party conventions.