Utah Debate Commission Sets Participants for November Debates

Utah Debate Commission LogoNo third-party candidates qualified to make the stage for this fall’s Utah Debate Commission events.

The UTDC released their final poll numbers for the seven debates which start on September 21st. In order to qualify to participate, a candidate had to hit 10% in their survey, minus the margin of error (+/- 4.28%), which means the actual threshold was 5.62% support.

Even with that paltry plateau, only Republican and Democratic candidates were able to qualify.

There are undoubtedly many third-party candidates who are disappointed they won’t be allowed to participate. However, Nena Slighting of the Utah Debate Commission says they had to set a standard for being on the stage.

“There has to be a threshold,” she said. “We can’t have everyone who qualified for the ballot participate. They have to demonstrate a minimum base of support.”

That’s the main reason the UTDC waited until late summer to conduct their poll. They wanted to give those smaller-party candidates plenty of time to build support and perhaps qualify for the events.

“We felt 10%, minus the margin of error was an appropriate level. This was discussed many times by our board and media partners so that we could have a meaningful debate between viable candidates.”

It’s also important to note that the UTDC is a private organization, so they are not obligated to include all candidates who qualified for the November ballot.


1st  Congressional District:  Rob Bishop (R) and Peter Clemens (D)

Chadwick Fairbanks, III (Unaffiliated) 2.2%

Craig Bowden (Libertarian) 4.5%

Peter Clemens (Democrat) 13.9%

Rob Bishop (Republican) 59.6%

Undecided 19.8%


2nd  Congressional District:  Charlene Albarran (D) and Chris Stewart (R)

Charlene Albarran (Democrat) 20.4%

Chris Stewart (Republican) 49.0%

Paul McCollaum, Jr. (Constitution) 4.6%

Undecided 26.0%


3rd Congressional District:  Jason Chaffetz (R) and Stephen Tryon (D)

Stephen Tryon (Democrat) 21.7%

Jason Chaffetz (Republican) 64.2%

Undecided 14.0%


4th Congressional District:  Mia Love (R) and Doug Owens (D)

Collin Robert Simonsen (Constitution) 2.8%

Doug Owens (Democrat) 30.4%

Mia Love (Republican) 49.3%

Undecided 17.5%


U.S. Senate:  Mike Lee (R) and Misty Snow (D)

Bill Barron (Unaffiliated) 4.6%

Mike Lee (Republican) 52.8%

Misty Snow (Democrat) 17.4%

Stoney Fonua (Independent American) 3.0%

Undecided 22.2%


Governor:  Gary Herbert (R) and Mike Weinholtz (D)

Brian Kamerath (Libertarian) 3.3%

Gary Herbert (Republican) 65.2%

L.S. Brown (Write-in) 0.6%

Mike Weinholtz (Democrat) 16.5%

SUPERDELL Schanze (Independent American) 2.1%

Undecided 12.3%


Attorney General:  Jon Harper (R) and Sean Reyes (D)

Jon Harper (Democrat) 17.3%

Michael Isbell (Independent American) 3.9%

Sean Reyes (Republican) 45.2%

W. Andrew McCullough (Libertarian) 4.5%

Undecided 29.1%

The debate schedule is as follows:

Date Race Venue Moderator
September 21 Attorney General Debate Dixie State University Bruce Lindsay
September 26 Gubernatorial Debate Utah State University Kerry Bringhurst
October 4 2nd Congressional Debate University of Utah Ken Verdoia
October 10 4th Congressional Debate Salt Lake Community College Ken Verdoia
October 12 U.S. Senate Debate Brigham Young University David Magleby
October 17 1st Congressional Debate Weber State University Jennier Napier-Pearce
October 19 3rd Congressional Debate Utah Valley University David Magleby


The survey was conducted by Lighthouse Research for the Utah Debate Commission