Candidates for U.S. Senate set to debate

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (News4Utah) – The two major party candidates for U.S. Senate will go head to head for the first, and only time Tuesday night.

This is the first time this seat has been open in more than four decades.

“The public already knows these two candidates well, right? We know who they are, we know kind of what they stand for, where are you on these issues,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Governor Mitt Romney and Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson will tackle the issues in a debate hosted by the Utah Debate Commission.

“We talk about politics, we talk about celebrity, but this is a chance to talk about the issues themselves. Everything from public lands and, I think, even to marijuana, we’re going to talk about important issues,” Perry said.

It’s the only time we will see the two candidates side by side.

Perry says for Wilson, who is trailing way behind in the polls, it’s a big opportunity.

“She has to show that she has a firm grasp of all the issues that people care about and that she is going to represent them in a better way. That’s the whole strategy, it has to be issue-oriented for her.”

The qualifying poll for the debate gives Romney a 40 point lead in the race.

“People feel like they are connected to him. From the Olympic Games to the religious affiliation, people feel like they kind of understand him, and also, he’s kind of got some notoriety having run for president of the United States.”

Perry says you can’t doubt Romney’s celebrity and he expects to see a clear message in the debate.

“I’m going to come in in a powerful way. Just like Senator Orrin Hatch, I’m going to elevate the state of Utah in the United States Senate. That is really his approach tonight if he’s going to be successful.”

You can catch the debate on ABC4 Utah, or on our website at 6 pm.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...