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Gov. Gary Herbert agrees to three debates with challenger Cooke

Published: Friday, Sept. 7 2012 12:06 p.m. MDT

Republican Women of Utah Valley host the 2012 Republican gubernatorial debate in South Jordan on Wednesday, April 11, 2012. Gov. Gary Herbert makes a point as Morgan Philpot, left, and William Skokos, right, listen.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has agreed to three debates with his Democratic opponent, Peter Cooke.

The first debate, hosted by the Utah League of Cities and Towns, is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Sept. 14 and will be moderated by KSL NewsRadio's Doug Wright. The hour-long debate will be broadcast live on the radio station.

The Salt Lake Chamber will be the host of the second debate, set for 9 a.m. Oct. 4. Wesley Smith, the chamber's executive vice president of government affairs and general counsel, will moderate and questions will be solicited from business leaders in the audience.

Oct. 11 is the date of the third debate agreed to by the governor, hosted by VoteUtah. While the debate is set for 10 a.m., it will be broadcast at 9 p.m. that evening on KUED,  Ch. 7, as well as other public television and radio stations.

Cooke, a retired general, had sought seven debates around the state with the incumbent governor. He expressed disappointment there would not be more debates where he could make his case that the state "cannot afford four more years" of Herbert's policies.

Herbert said he looks "forward to a robust and civilized discussion of the issues that matter most to Utahns."

A debate between Lt. Gov. Greg Bell and his Democratic challenger, Vince Rampton, is scheduled for Oct. 31 at 11:30 a.m. at Utah State University in Logan. It will be moderated by a faculty member and a student from USU as well as a representative of public radio.

Lisa Riley Roche Twitter: dnewspolitics

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