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Senate debate airs Wednesday night

Published October 16, 2012 11:06 am

Politics • Contest will air at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Utah's public broadcast stations.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Sen. Orrin Hatch and his Democratic challenger, Scott Howell, will face each other Wednesday in the first of only two scheduled debates between them.

The televised debate is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. on three public broadcasting stations: KBYU Channel 11, KUED Channel 7 and KUEN Channel 9. It will be moderated by David Magleby, founder of Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy.

The first debate comes after Howell complained repeatedly that Hatch has been ducking debates, and skipped some early ones where Howell and minor candidates appeared and even debated an empty chair with Hatch's nameplate in front of it.

While Howell is happy to have at least some debates, his campaign has called for more — and noted when Hatch first ran for the Senate in 1976 he called for eight debates against then-Sen. Frank Moss, D-Utah, but is granting only two now.

Hatch's campaign said the two debates fit his busy schedule, and that many ways exist to communicate with voters — and debates are only one.

A second debate is scheduled for the Doug Wright Show on KSL Radio (AM 1160 and FM 102.7) at 9 a.m. on Oct. 26.

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