SALT LAKE CITY — Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is endorsing Provo Mayor John Curtis in the race to replace Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz in Utah’s GOP-dominated 3rd Congressional District.

Romney said in a statement distributed by Curtis’ campaign Wednesday that he’s backing Curtis because he has demonstrated the ability to solve tough problems in his career as a businessman and mayor. Romney said Curtis’ “can-do attitude” will serve Utah well in Congress.

Curtis is considered the front-runner in the race to Chaffetz, who resigned in June, saying he needed to spend more time with family.

In the Nov. 7 election, Curtis faces Democratic physician Kathie Allen and Jim Bennett, the son of former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett who is running with a new independent party called United Utah.