SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – A scheduled debate for Utah’s 4th U.S. Congressional District is set to go ahead tonight at 6 p.m. despite the fact that incumbent Rep. Burgess Owens (R) has confirmed he will not participate.

The debate between Democratic nominee Darlene McDonald and United Utah Party challenger January Walker will be broadcast live from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City tonight. The entire debate will be live-streamed on this page.

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Utah Debate Commission confirmed Owens’s absence. 

“The UDC is still planning on full attendance at the fourth Congressional District debate, and is looking forward to meaningful dialogue with the candidates that do participate,” the statement read.

The debate will be the third of five hosted by the Utah Debate Commission ahead of Election Day on Nov. 8. Lauren Gustus, executive editor for the Salt Lake Tribune, will moderate the evening’s debate.

Owens is completing his first term as congressman for Utah’s fourth district after winning the seat in 2020 with 47.7% of the vote. A former NFL Super Bowl winner with then-Oakland Raiders, Owens launched a career in politics in Utah and currently serves as a member of the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. 

McDonald takes a stand as a “necessary voice” for issues on race, racism, and diversity, having worked with Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall on the Salt Lake City Racial Equity in Policing Commission following the summer of protest. McDonald also focuses on her “kitchen-table issues” such as gas prices, education, and healthcare.

Walker runs as a candidate for the recently formed United Utah Party. A “moderate millennial” Walker has a background in economics and finance and has worked as a product manager. She takes a stance on women’s healthcare access and LGBTQ+ equality.

HOW TO WATCH: will carry the entire debate on our live stream. You can also watch the debate from the Utah Debate Commission’s website.

Oct. 12 — U.S. House, Dist. 4

Oct. 14 — U.S. House, Dist. 2

Oct. 17 — U.S. Senate

  • Mike Lee (R) vs. Evan McMullin (I)
  • 6 p.m. at Utah Valley University
  • Moderator: Doug Wright
  • ABC4 will carry this debate live on-air and on our live stream