The man who waged a hunger strike to pressure Sen. Orrin Hatch into televised debates with his GOP challenger, Dan Liljenquist, has ended it after five days of eating no food but drinking liquids.
McKay Christensen posted on Facebook that he ended it on Thursday because of health problems not because of success. Hatch is still declining televised debates with Liljenquist.
Christensen's Facebook post said that after listening to Hatch's campaign manager on the radio "spin the reasons why Sen. Hatch will not debate, I became incensed with rage. I don't know if it is going without food, but I have not been able to stop shaking for two hours."
He added, "After listening to my wife and kids, and pleading from my mom to either quit the strike or go to the hospital, I am throwing in the towel."
Christensen wrote, "I truly hope that the people of Utah will look at the tricks and gimmicks that are being played, and will take the time to evaluate who will be the best person to represent Utah for the next six years. I can only say to Sen. Hatch: Debate on TV or resign."
While Christensen volunteers to distribute lawn signs for Liljenquist, that campaign said it advised him against the hunger strike out of worry for his health. Hatch and Liljenquist have agreed to only one yet-to-be-scheduled joint appearance on a radio talk show. Hatch has declined televised debates, saying his Washington schedule is too busy for that, plus the pair debated twice before the GOP convention and, he said, there are other ways to reach voters.
Liljenquist said that next week Â when Hatch will be in Utah during the Senate's Memorial Day recess Â he will hold his own debates, and if Hatch will not show, then he will debate a cardboard cutout of him or an empty chair, and play recordings of his statements on issues.
On Friday, Liljenquist started airing a new TV ad attacking Hatch for not debating. In it, Liljenquist says, "After being named the third biggest earmarker in all of Congress and continually voting to raise his own pay and support government bailouts, it's no surprise Senator Hatch would rather duck debates than talk about his record."
Of note, television stations have offered to fly to Washington if necessary to shoot debates.