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Find KUER's reporting on the races, candidates and more for Utah’s 2018 midterm elections. Click here for our graphics of the U.S. Senate race, 4 Congressional races and Utah ballot initiatives.

What To Look For In Today’s Congressional Primary Debates

Screenshot / KUED

The Utah Debate Commission is holding debates Tuesday for all three of Utah’s contested primary races.

All debates will take place throughout the day at KBYU studios in Provo. They will be livestreamed online.  
KUER will air the U.S. Senate debate live beginning at 6 p.m.

Here’s a look at the schedule and what to watch for during each debate:

U.S. Senate

Senate hopefuls Mitt Romney and Mike Kennedy will square off beginning at 6 p.m.

The two will likely be asked about topics such as President Trump, immigration and their plans to reduce federal spending.

Throughout the campaign, both candidates have toed a fine line on Trump. Romney has repeatedly said that while he supports the President’s agenda, he will continue to speak up when Trump says or does things he disagrees with.

Kennedy, a doctor and conservative state lawmaker, is campaigning to the right of Romney and embracing Trump allies such as Texas Pastor Robert Jeffress and Robert C. Oaks, a former Mormon general authority and retired Air Force General.

Recent polling by showed Romney sprinting ahead, leading with about 67 percent to Kennedy’s 24 percent of likely Republican voters.

Romney is expected to perform better in the primary than he did at the state GOP convention in April, when more conservative Republican delegates split their support between the two, 51-49 percent, in Kennedy’s favor.

3rd Congressional District

In a rematch of last year’s special election in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District, Congressman John Curtis will face former state lawmaker Chris Herrod at 2 p.m.

The two will likely continue to spar over issues they debated last year, including immigration, the deficit and Congressional Republican priorities.

In 2017, Herrod and a third Republican primary candidate, Tanner Ainge, targeted Curtis for his prior political affiliation as a Democrat. But now that Curtis has spent seven months in Congress and has a record to point to, look for him to trumpet his experience. 

1st Congressional District
Democrats will kick off the debates Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Layton social worker Lee Castillo and Bountiful business owner Kurt Weiland are both seeking the chance to challenge seven-term incumbent Republican Congressman Rob Bishop in November.

Both candidates say they believe Bishop is vulnerable this election cycle.

They both have similar progressive stances on some issues, including higher wages, protecting public lands and gun control measures.

Castillo and Weiland are the only Utah Democrats running for a congressional seat headed for a primary. Look for how each candidate outlines their strategy to challenge longtime Rep. Bishop.

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