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After Poll Redo, Jim Bennett Qualifies For 3rd District's Televised Debate

Nicole Nixon / KUER
Jim Bennett speaks to reporters alongside United Utah Party chair Richard Davis on August 3, 2017.

An upcoming televised debate between candidates running to replace former Congressman Jason Chaffetz will now include a third-party candidate.

The Utah Debate Commission confirmed Friday that this is the first time a third-party candidate will join the Democratic and Republican nominee on stage for their debate.

That candidate is Jim Bennett of the United Utah Party, a new centrist group that formed over the summer.

Earlier this month, Bennett didn’t poll well enough to qualify. But the commission decided to hold a do-over after some questions arose over how the first survey was conducted. The result? Bennett met the 6 percent threshold to be included.

And he’s pleased about that.

“Considering the fact I’ve only been on the ballot for six weeks after a lengthy fight to get on the ballot, this really I think represents a tremendous opportunity, and we’re very proud of our ability to have crossed this threshold.”

Bennett will debate Democrat Kathie Allen and Republican John Curtis at Brigham Young University on October 18.


Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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