Who’s in — and is anyone out — for congressional, Senate debates ahead of midterm election?
SALT LAKE CITY — Most Republican incumbents refused to participate in Utah Debate Commission debates before the GOP primary, but all five will take part in the independent commission’s events starting this week ahead of the November midterm election.
In May, the Utah Republican Party discouraged congressional and U.S. Senate candidates from participating because it wanted to control the moderators and the questions. The party and the bipartisan commission were unable to reach an agreement to co-host the debates. The Utah GOP sponsored its own debates in two of the congressional races and the Senate race.
The commission, a nonpartisan consortium of higher educational institutions and media organizations, held its debates before the GOP primary with only the challengers on stage in all but one race.
But the five incumbent members of Congress — who all easily won their Republican primaries — will be on stage with their challengers this month ahead of the Nov. 8 election.
The commission conducts a poll of Utah voters to determine whether candidates qualify for its debates. Candidates must reach a polling threshold of 10%, taking into account the margin of error. This year, two third-party candidates made the cut along with the Democrats and Republicans on the ballot in the five races.
The debates will be carried live by local TV and radio stations and streamed online, including on the commission’s website and Facebook page. Debates will start at 6 p.m. They will also be available on the commission’s website and social media channels after they air.
Here’s the schedule for Utah Debate commission debates:
1st Congressional District
Who: Rep. Blake Moore, Republican
Rick Jones, Democrat
When: Monday, Oct. 10, 6 p.m.
Where: Weber State University
Moderator: Kerry Bringhurst, Utah Public Radio station manager
2nd Congressional District
Who: Rep. Chris Stewart, Republican
Nick Mitchell, Democrat
Cassie Easley, Constitution
When: Friday, Oct. 14, 6 p.m.
Where: Southern Utah University
Moderator: Boyd Matheson, KSL NewsRadio host
3rd Congressional District
Who: Rep. John Curtis, Republican
Glenn Wright, Democrat
When: Thursday, Oct. 6, 6 p.m.
Where: Brigham Young University
Moderator: Natalie Gochnour, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute director
4th Congressional District
Who: Rep. Burgess Owens, Republican
Darlene McDonald, Democrat
January Walker, United Utah
When: Wednesday, Oct. 12, 6 p.m.
Where: University of Utah
Moderator: Lauren Gustus, Salt Lake Tribune executive editor
Who: Sen. Mike Lee, Republican
Evan McMullin, unaffiliated
When: Monday, Oct. 17, 6 p.m.
Where: Utah Valley University
Moderator: Doug Wright, former KSL NewsRadio host
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