Matheson agrees to four debates, but Love says he’s skipping others
Politics • Utah’s new 4th District is hotly contested.
Published: September 11, 2012 02:25PM
Updated: December 25, 2012 11:32PM
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Robert Gehrke | The Salt Lake Tribune U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson is running for a seventh term in Congress, this time in the newly drawn 4th District. Matheson gave introductory remarks and met with Boy Scouts and scoutmasters at the annual Scout-O-Rama in Sandy on May 4.

The number of times that Rep. Jim Matheson and his Republican challenger, Mia Love, should meet in debates is, well, a matter of debate.

Matheson said Monday that he has agreed to four broadcast debates. But Love’s campaign said that there should be more and that the Democratic congressman has passed on others thus far, including one at the Salt Lake Chamber.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Matheson, but the Salt Lake Chamber does not endorse.

“I got into this race to challenge Jim in public forums and compare records, debate failed policies and highlight the principles that have made Utah and our nation great,” Love said in a statement, saying formats that allow more than 30-second sound bites are needed to show the contrast.

“Public debates will show clearly who really has the interest of Utahns in mind and who will consistently cast votes to end Obamacare, reduce regulation, develop energy independence, foster Utah jobs and reduce the size of the federal government and the national debt,” she said.

Scheduling the debates had been a sticking point for the two candidates vying for the 4th Congressional District seat, with the campaigns going back and forth behind the scenes for weeks on the debate schedule.

“As always, I believe it’s important for Utahns to hear from candidates on the issues,” Matheson said in a statement. “Traditionally, that means appearing before the public in the venues that offer the greatest opportunity for voters to watch and listen.”

Matheson has agreed to debates hosted by KUTV, KTVX and KSL television and radio.

He has also agreed to back-to-back candidate interviews on KUER’s Radio West.

gehrke@sltrib.com

Twitter: @RobertGehrke