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Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
Democratic candidate for Utah governor, Peter Cooke, poses at his campaign offices in Salt Lake City, March 20, 2012.

SALT LAKE CITY — Democrat Peter Cooke is challenging Gov. Gary Herbert to seven debates around the state prior to the November election.

Fair and balanced debates are a historical part of democracy and provide voters with the information they need to measure the candidates, Cooke said.

Herbert campaign spokesman Marty Carpenter said the governor welcomes the opportunity to debate and to make the sure the electorate can make an informed decision. As for how many debates between now and Election Day, Carpenter said that remains to be coordinated with Herbert's schedule.

The Cooke campaign said it is talking to civic groups, TV and radio stations and universities about sponsoring the events. Cook suggested debates be held in seven major geographical regions in the state so more residents could be involved.

To date, the Utah League of Cities and Towns is scheduled to host a gubernatorial debate Sept. 14.

Dennis Romboy

Twitter: dennisromboy