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Another Senate debate coming, sans Hatch

Published August 30, 2012 4:40 pm

Politics • Campaign says senator had prior engagements — again.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

U.S. Senate candidates appearing on the Nov. 6 ballot have been invited to a second debate on Tuesday — but Sen. Orrin Hatch says he is skipping it, like the first one, because of prior commitments.

In the first debate on Aug. 21 — with an audience of only 20 people — Democrat Scott Howell and minor-party candidates often asked questions to a vacant seat behind Hatch's name plate. For example, Howell turned to the empty seat and asked Hatch what he has done to create jobs, and said, "I don't hear anything."

The second debate, sponsored by K-Talk Radio AM 630, is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday at Weber State University's Student Union Building Ballroom C, 3848 Harrison Blvd., in Ogden. The public is invited, and the debate will be broadcast live.

Dave Hansen, Hatch's campaign manager, said Hatch will skip that debate because of previous commitments. He said Hatch is hosting an annual economic conference in the morning, followed by a business roundtable in the afternoon and a long-planned family event in the evening.

"There will be debates, but not yet," Hansen said. He said the campaign has not decided whether to engage in debates with all candidates, or just Howell. "We'll figure out what is best for those attending the debate and what is most informative."

Hatch was also attacked constantly during the GOP primary by Republican Dan Liljenquist for avoiding all but one radio debate then. Hatch won with 66 percent of the vote.

Those who attended the last debate were Howell, Constitution Party nominee Shaun McCausland and unaffiliated candidate Bill Barron. Also appearing on the general election ballot will be Justice Party nominee Daniel Geery. JoAnn Secrist has also registered as an unaffiliated write-in candidate.