Utah Democrats overwhelmingly picked Dr. Kathie Allen to be their standard bearer in the special 3rd Congressional District election in November.
Allen blew away her rivals, winning 76% of the vote at the Democratic State Convention in Ogden on Saturday.
Allen shocked the Utah political world earlier this year when she raised more than $500,000 after Rep. Jason Chaffetz stuck his foot in his mouth during the healthcare debate in Congress, suggesting that poorer Americans need to make a choice between “buying that new iPhone or paying for health care.” After that, donations poured into Allen’s campaign from liberal luminaries like Rosie O’Donnell and Nancy Sinatra.
Now that Chaffetz is out of the race, Allen says her gameplan hasn’t changed much.
“This race is about values,” she said. “I want to bring ethics back to Washington.”
She also had some harsh words for President Donald Trump.
“Every day I am more appalled that Trump only supports the rich,” she said. “He only cares about the 1%. I want to represent the rest of the country who are being left out.”
Allen’s herculean task will be to convince voters in the 3rd District to vote Republican. That’s much easier said than done. The area is 50% registered Republicans to start with, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz won his last three elections with 74, 73 and 77% of the vote.
Allen’s politics are more on the progressive side of the political spectrum, something that could be a hard thing for voters in the 3rd District to buy.
“It plays with millennial voters,” Allen snaps when asked about her progressive politics. “Young people are not on board with some of the positions of the LDS Church.”
When asked which positions she’s referring to, Allen cited the Church’s position on LGBT rights. Does that mean she plans to make that a big part of her campaign?
“I’m not gonna talk about that much,” she admitted. “I want to speak more about health care and jobs, so that won’t be a big part of my campaign.”
Allen will face the winner of the three-way Republican primary election on August 15, which will feature former Utah Rep. Chris Herrod, Provo Mayor John Curtis and political newcomer Tanner Ainge.
That may all be for naught as several expected lawsuits may disrupt the special election process laid out by the governor. One Allen staffer told UtahPolicy.com that, even if legal challenges slow down or alter the election, it’s not going to change their approach.
“I’m not going to waste any time worrying about all of that,” they said.