Initially, I was excited when the new debate commission in Utah came out with a strong nonpartisan message. However, over the last several months as I've campaigned for Utah’s 1st District, it seems that the Utah Debate Commission is sticking with the two major parties as the only options and not extending invitations out to third parties or independents.
This is not a good practice for “informing voters,” as the Debate Commission states in its mission. For instance, in the 1st District race, Dwane Vance, Donna McAleer, Rob Bishop and I are all running for the seat, but only Congressman Bishop and Ms. McAleer will be able to debate.
The claim is that a "viable" party is entered into the debate. But the set standard is 10 percent polling. I find this odd, because in 1st District, to have a chance at beating Mr. Bishop, one would need closer to 30 percent before the race even started to look close. The Democrat candidates have gotten just over 20 percent in the last two races, making them a long shot as any third-party option.
In order to have a fair election process, we need to have fair debates. It’s time to let others speak.
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