It's almost over. The "dirtiest campaign in memory," as some have called it, is about to come to a finale. Voters in the 3rd Congressional District on Tuesday night will decide which man they want to represent them in Congress for the next two years: Republican Karl Snow or Democrat Bill Orton.

When the night ends, one man will be triumphant; the other will dust himself off and re-evaluate his political future. Peace will reign on the 3rd District political front - at least until the next election year.Neither candidate emerges from the campaign unwounded. Orton is questioned about tax penalties he owes on a vehicle he brought to Utah from Oregon years ago. Snow is plagued with allegations about the depth of his involvement with penny-stock swindler Michael Strand.

So much for the dirt.

In the course of their campaigns, the two candidates revealed similarities: their views on abortion, a balanced-budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and a federal partnership in education are the same, for example.

But the two candidates' campaigns revealed significant differences in substance and style. Snow is firmly in line with the Republican Party platform; Orton distances himself from the Democratic platform - he said many times that he hasn't even read it.

Snow, whose campaign slogan is "The Conservative You Can Trust," emphasized his previous governmental experience and leadership ability, his connections with the 3rd District's business and political leaders and sensitivity to the values of constituents of the 3rd District.

"I entered (the race) . . . committing myself to do all that was possible to return this country to traditional American moral values and to work hard for a return to the free-enterprise system and to emphasize specifically an interest I have in terms of high-tech development, both as a means ofeconomic development for this state but addressing many of our ills in this country, including that of pollution," Snow told the audience at a Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Orton proclaims that "Things Are Changing" in the 3rd District, billing himself as a statesman above partisan politics with innovative ideas that ought to be tried in Congress. Orton, who has not held elected office before, champions the fact that he is not a politician.

"Although I'm not a politician, I understand government," Orton said at the same chamber luncheon. "And, I have gotten fed up with business as usual in Washington, D.C."

He hopes to convince voters that the most Republican district in the country could be well-represented by a conservative Democrat who is "within the mainstream (of political thought) of the district on the issues." He's focused on his tax-law expertise and his potential to get things done in Congress as a member of the majority party.

With the specter of the recent budget fiasco hanging over the nation, both candidates took time in most public appearances to discuss their solutions for solving America's financial woes.

Snow favors a balanced-budget amendment, a line-item veto for the president and reduced federal spending. He endorses a proposal made by the Congressional Budget Office to freeze 1991 expenditures at a level no greater than 4 percent of the previous year's budget; Congress now allows 10 percent budget increases.

Natural growth results in revenue increases of about $75 billion annually. Limiting budget increases to 4 percent - about $50 billion annually - would allow the remaining $25 billion to go toward reducing the deficit, Snow said.

He would limit congressional franking privileges and fight government waste, fraud and mismanagement, which he says could save $305 billion. He would work to overhaul defense procurement procedures, reduce agriculture subsidies and reform the Davis-Bacon Act, which sets the wages paid by private companies holding federal contracts.

Orton proposes a three-part solution to solve the country's financial crisis: reform of the budgeting process, spending limitations and tax reform. He would put the budget on a multiyear cycle, support a balanced-budget amendment, institute sunset laws for federal agencies and eliminate pork-barrel spending by giving the president impoundment powers. Spending limitations should be imposed on defense, entitlement programs and discretionary spending, Orton said.

Tax reform must include a new federal transfer tax - set probably below 1 percent; the broad-based tax would be imposed on wealth as it transfers from one individual to another, Orton said. Also, he thinks the national debt should be placed off-budget.