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Governor Herbert Changes Course, Agrees To Second Debate With Democrat Mike Weinholtz

Whittney Evans

Utah Governor Gary Herbert will debate Democratic challenger Mike Weinholtz Friday at an hosted by the Utah League of Cities and Towns. Herbert previously declined to participate due to a scheduling conflict.

The governor’s annual fundraising gala is Friday night. That’s initially why Herbert’s campaign spokesman Marty Carpenter said the governor couldn’t make the debate, which is scheduled for just after noon that same day. But Carpenter announced Thursday afternoon the governor would make it work.

“I think it’s important to him in the sense that it’s the mayors,” Carpenter says. “Having been a local government guy, serving as a county commissioner and working closely with the mayors when he was lieutenant governor in particular. It’s important to him that he can go and discuss issues that are important to those local officials.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Weinholtz challenged Herbert to five debates before the November election. Herbert, so far has only agreed to one with the Utah Debate Commission, scheduled for Monday, September 26th at Utah State University. Weinholtz says Utah voters should have more opportunities to see the candidates’ debate.

“For me it comes back to the point of what’s best for the people of Utah,” Weinholtz says. “The people deserve to see the candidates side by side, hear their positions on the issues. And the best way to do that is through debates.”

Herbert said last week at his monthly televised news conference on KUED, his opponent wants to have as many debates as possible to improve his name recognition. He says the public will have plenty of opportunities to educate themselves on the candidates’ positions. 

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