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Election news from across Utah's statewide and national races in 2020.

‘Civil’ And ‘Bland’: What Some Utah Voters Took Away From The Vice Presidential Debate

People on a zoom call
Emily Means/ KUER
Voters from across Utah watched the vice presidential debate Wednesday. A group that joined KUER after the debate had already decided how they’ll vote in the election but tuned in for a variety of reasons.

“Civil,” “bland” and “better than the last one” are how some voters described Wednesday’s vice presidential debate between Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris.

Lesa Sandberg, 53, a Republican from Washington County, had already decided to vote for President Donald Trump in the election. But even if she hadn’t, she said Wednesday night’s event wouldn’t have swayed her.

“I don’t think that debate changed anybody’s mind,” Sandberg said. “I think that most people know where they’re going, and they’re going to vote for who they were going to vote for.”

Kris Campbell, 41, is an unaffiliated voter from Summit County who plans on voting for former Vice President Joe Biden — more as a vote against Trump than in support of Biden.

But Campbell said he was hoping Pence and Harris would try to reach people outside their bases.

“Too often, we all tend to vote for a particular party, and then that doesn’t put any pressure on the party to speak to anybody in the other party or in the middle,” Campbell said.

For Abe Vazquez, a 22-year-old Republican from Box Elder County, he wanted the candidates to talk more about the economy and the federal deficit. He also wanted more facts to be centered in the debate — particularly from Harris.

“I think she was talking a lot more about issues and opinions,” Vazquez said. “I wish, for example, the question of [packing the Supreme Court], I wanted that to be answered sincerely, and I don’t think she answered. There should have been more facts on both sides, but I think Mike Pence did a good job on presenting more facts.”

The Supreme Court question was something Taylor Green, a 24 year-old, left-leaning unaffiliated voter in Salt Lake County, also wanted answered.

“[Harris] seemed to tiptoe around the question,” Green said. “I [also] would have liked to hear what [Pence] thought about nominating a judge during the election, while people have already voted.”

Sandberg, Campbell and Green all said they’ll probably watch the presidential debate planned for next Thursday, but they said they’ll turn it off if it’s anything like the first debate between Trump and Biden. Vazquez said he has to tune in for his job with the Utah GOP, but he would do the same.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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