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.