SALT LAKE CITY — Former BYU basketball star Danny Ainge was the main host of his son Tanner's first campaign fundraiser in the race for the 3rd District seat in Congress being vacated by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
The price tag to attend Monday's reception with Danny Ainge, now the general manager and president of basketball operations of the Boston Celtics, at the Red Ledges Golf Club in Heber City was $1,000 — or $2,700 for a couple.
"Tanner's father has been 'all-in' since he announced his candidacy and Tanner is grateful for his support," campaign spokesman Peter Watkins said, adding he "will work as hard as he can to get his message to voters" in the August GOP primary.
Danny Ainge wasn't the only former BYU star athlete at the reception. Steve Young, who played for the San Francisco 49ers and was a Super Bowl MVP, also made an appearance.
Tanner Ainge, who gathered voter signatures for a place on the primary ballot, is getting help, too, from Spencer Zwick, who was responsible for raising some $1 billion for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.
Zwick was also a host Monday. He now serves as finance chairman for U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan's political action committee that funds congressional campaigns.
Ainge met briefly with Ryan earlier this month at Romney's annual Deer Valley political retreat for donors and investors in Solarmere Capital, a private equity firm founded by Romney's son, Tagg, and Zwick.
The three Republicans in the primary are Ainge, a lawyer from Alpine; former state lawmaker Chris Herrod, the winner of the party's delegate nomination; and Provo Mayor John Curtis, who competed for the party's nomination but also gathered voter signatures.
Watkins said Ainge is working to position himself with primary voters as "the right conservative in the race who truly represents their values." Ainge did not start campaigning until last week, after the GOP nominating convention was over.
Curtis announced Monday he has the support of 19 of his fellow mayors from throughout Utah, including Lindon Mayor Jeff Acerson, who said he stands with Curtis because "D.C. needs some Utah values — not the other way around."
The mayor of Provo since 2010, Curtis said the mayors backing his candidacy "are the foundation of our communities. They know that it takes hard work and action over words and promises."
Chaffetz announced last month his last day in Congress would be Friday. He is leaving a quarter of the way through his fifth term to take a new job in the private sector that is expected to be with Fox News.
The election for his seat will be held in November, with the victor in the Republican primary facing the Democratic nominee, Cottonwood Heights physician Kathie Allen and several other candidates.