Political expert says differing personalities could stimulate peaceful VP debate


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News)– Wednesday, is the first and only Vice Presidential Debate will be hosted at Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah.

Vice President Mike Pence and California Senator Kamala Harris will face off in front of more than 200 guests.

Hinckley Institute of Politics political expert Morgan Lyon- Cotti says this debate could be more peaceful than the first presidential debate.

“The personalities of these two candidates are so different,” Morgan Lyon-Cotti said. “Mike Pence is such a steady presence he does not get riled up by another person or another moderator and Senator Harris is this seasoned prosecutor who knows how to cross-examine and dive into issues in a measured way.”

Wednesday’s debate is more than a week after President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden faced off in Cleveland. Where Biden told the president to “shut up.”

“There was so much negative press and negative feedback about that first debate,” Lyon-Cotti said.
“From the citizens, voters to the campaigns I think people are relying on these two candidates to have a civil and policy driven debate.” 

Lyon-Cotti says Utahns want to know where the candidates stand on policies pertaining to the pandemic and the economy. But how the candidates address the President’s COVID-19 diagnosis will be front a center.

“Vice President Pence needs to address it, he needs to show strength and he needs to toe that line between being in charge of the COVID-19 Task Force but also be in line with what the the President’s messaging has been around COVID,” Lyon- Cotti said.  “Senator Harris is probably going to try and bring up what many in her party think; that these diagnoses show the lack of leadership but she needs to do that in a way that doesn’t seem like she is attacking a sick person.”

 Although Lyon-Cotti says more people may be watching this VP debate, it could have little impact on the election.

“We can really see that they move polls but their lasting impact is questionable- the stakes here are so high,” Lyon-Cotti said.

The debate starts at 7 p.m. and can be streamed on ABC4.com.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. 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...