Candidates Tout Progressive Solutions at Debate

Six candidates for Utah’s Senate District 2 seat joined the ABU Education Fund, an affiliate of the progressive, good government group Alliance for a Better UTAH, and Fox13 Political Reporter Max Roth to debate Utah issues on Tuesday.

Debate Image from

The candidates are vying to replace outgoing Salt Lake County Mayor-elect Ben McAdams. McAdams’ replacement will be selected this Saturday by the Democratic delegates of his former district.

Attendance at the debate was well over 150 people, featuring news coverage from multiple sources. KUER’s Terry Gildea noted that candidates were able to showcase their progressive positions on a variety of issues, from Medicaid expansion to LGBT rights.

David Montero of the Salt Lake Tribune argued that the healthy discussion of progressive issues also pointed to the difficulties progressives face throughout the State.

This is how tough it’s gotten for Democrats in Utah — there were more candidates battling in a debate Tuesday night to replace Ben McAdams in his vacated Senate District 2 seat than there will be actual Democrats in the Senate chamber when the session begins in January.

Fox13’s Ben Winslow called Senate District 2 perhaps the most liberal district in the state, suggesting that

whoever fills Ben McAdam’s seat may become the flag bearer for progressives across the state of Utah.

Lisa Riley Roche of the Deseret News, in her pre-debate coverage of the event, noted that the winning candidate will likely have a difficult time being heard by the senate’s Republican majority, a fact that candidates returned to again and again throughout the debate.

Lastly, Bob Bernick of UtahPolicy suggested that watching the debate gave many progressive Utahns the opportunity to imagine what a progressive Utah would look like.

It was “almost like living someplace other than Utah,” said Bernick.

On the stage were six of the more progressive – some would say liberal – Democratic candidates one could find. And the amazing thing is – as debate moderator Max Roth of Fox 13 News told UtahPolicy – “one of them is actually going to win.”

The debate was held at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on the campus of the University of Utah. For video of the debate, click here.

Scroll to Top