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Hatch, Howell to meet in two debates

Published: Thursday, Sept. 20 2012 5:52 p.m. MDT

FILE - This Sept. 7, 2011 file photo shows Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah speaking on Capitol Hill in Washington.  Sen. Orrin Hatch's opponent says the 78-year-old Utah Republican is just too old to serve. In an email to supporters, Democrat Scott Howell warned that if re-elected, Hatch may FILE - This Sept. 7, 2011 file photo shows Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah speaking on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sen. Orrin Hatch's opponent says the 78-year-old Utah Republican is just too old to serve. In an email to supporters, Democrat Scott Howell warned that if re-elected, Hatch may "retire or die before his term is through." Howell, who is 58, added that Hatch isn't a bad guy, "but he is an old guy." (J. Scott Applewhite, File, Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and Democrat Scott Howell will debate twice before the November election, though the challenger says that's not enough.

The first debate will be streamed live on the Vote Utah website at 10 a.m. Oct. 17 and simulcast at 9 that night on KBYU, KUED and KUEN. The second debate is scheduled for KSL Radio's Doug Wright Show at 9 a.m. Oct. 26.

"I look forward to discussing the issues that matter most to voters in the state of Utah with my opponent," Hatch said. 

Howell campaign manager Emily Hollingshead said Howell is pushing for the KSL Radio debate to be televised as well. Hatch campaign manager Dave Hansen said Hatch has agreed to radio only.

Howell accepted an invitation to debate at Southern Utah University on Tuesday. Hatch won't be there but will send a representative. Howell also plans to attend an Oct. 30 event at the University of Utah. Hansen said he hasn't seen an invitation for that event, and it's not on the senator's schedule.

Scott Howell is congratulated by Miriam Hyde after he won the democratic nomination for U.S. Senate to run against the seat currently occupied by Orrin Hatch.  Utah State Democratic Convention held at the Salt Palace on Saturday, April 21, 2012. (Stuart Johnson, Deseret News) Scott Howell is congratulated by Miriam Hyde after he won the democratic nomination for U.S. Senate to run against the seat currently occupied by Orrin Hatch. Utah State Democratic Convention held at the Salt Palace on Saturday, April 21, 2012. (Stuart Johnson, Deseret News)

In July, Howell called on Hatch to debate in each of Utah's 29 counties but said he doubted Hatch had the stamina for that. Last week, he said it was "cowardly" of Hatch to not agree to debates.

The Howell campaign has offered to go with a town hall meeting format if Hatch doesn't want one-on-one debates.

"If he wants another six years as senator, he should tell people face to face why he thinks they should re-elect him," Howell said.

Hansen said there are many ways to communicate with voters, and debates are just one of them.

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