Tanner Ainge throws himself into rough-and-tumble game

SALT LAKE CITY — As a high school freshman in Arizona, Tanner Ainge wanted to play quarterback on the football team. That he’d never played the pivotal position before didn’t deter him.

Sadly, his highlights were the tackles he made after throwing interceptions.

“Tanner, you need to be a safety, not a quarterback,” his father, Danny Ainge, recalled telling him.

Now a candidate in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District race, Tanner Ainge has again thrown himself into a rough-and-tumble game. He’s young. He’s untested. And he’s battling two seasoned Republicans for the job.

But according to his dad, who knows something about hard-nosed play, Ainge is driven, competitive and fearless. He’s the same fourth-grader who dropped to the floor during class to do 100 pushups — much to the dismay of his teacher — so he could make his goal of 1,000 a day.

Ainge, 33, says he has lived his whole life at an accelerated pace. He graduated from BYU with an international studies degree in three years. He finished law school at Northwestern in 18 months. He has worked at an investment firm, as general counsel for a health care company, and now has his own consulting business, Ainge Advisory.

He disagrees with those who say it’s not his time yet. It’s not about age, Ainge said, but experience.

“If you take the resumes of the three candidates, I’ll stack mine up against theirs all day long,” Ainge recently said during a combined meeting of the Deseret News and KSL editorial boards. “And I think that I have energy to go and fight for the things that matter to the 3rd District.”

Provo Mayor John Curtis and former state lawmaker Chris Herrod are also vying for the GOP nomination. The winner will face Democrat Kathie Allen and several third-party…

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