2017 Special Election Debate – Alliance for a Better Utah








Watch the Debate Live!

OCTOBER 13, 2017

6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Eastmont Middle School Auditorium

10100 S 1300 E, Sandy, UT 84094







United Utah







*The top-four polling candidates were invited to participate in the debate based on all publicly available polls as of September 23, 2017.


Please read the "Audience Rules" below before registering for tickets. When you register for tickets, you agree to the guidelines and rules contained therein. Note that tickets are required to enter the debate venue. Please remember to bring your print or digital copy of your ticket with you to the auditorium.

For general admission tickets, a maximum of four tickets per person are available. General admission seating is first come, first served.

For reserved seating tickets, click "Enter Promotional Code" and then enter the access code that was given to you. Access codes allow you to register for a maximum of two reserved seating tickets. Your seats will be located in the auditorium with the group from which you received your code.

Members of the media must register for press credentials. Press registration is limited to one ticket per person.

If you have any questions or trouble registering for tickets, contact us at (801) 893-2281 or info@betterutah.org.


This debate will have a non-participatory live audience in the Eastmont Middle School Auditorium. Admission to the debate is free. However, the auditorium has limited capacity and pre-registration is required to attend. Ticket registration will be available at www.betterutah.org/cd3debate/ according to the following guidelines.
The debate sponsors will reserve a specified amount of tickets for each of the four candidates participating in the debate. Eventbrite access codes for these tickets will be emailed to each campaign with the formal invitation to participate in the debate, along with instructions on how to distribute and use the codes. Registration for reserved-seating tickets will open at 12:00 pm (noon) on September 25, 2017 and close at 2:00 pm on October 13, 2017. Print or digital tickets will be scanned and are required to enter the auditorium and the reserved campaign sections.
The debate sponsors reserve the right to reserve unspecified amounts of reserved-seating tickets at their discretion for individuals, groups, and promotions. Instructions for any such reserved-seating tickets will be given by the debate sponsors. Print or digital tickets will be scanned and are required to enter the auditorium and the reserved-seating sections.
All other seats in the auditorium will be available to the general public. General admission seating will be available first-come, first-served. Reserving seats is not allowed. Registration for general admission tickets will open at 12:00 pm (noon) on September 13, 2017 and close at 2:00 pm on October 13, 2017. Print or digital tickets will be scanned and are required to enter the auditorium.
The debate will be held on October 13, 2017 and begin promptly at 6:30 pm. Doors to the event will open at 5:30 pm. Doors will close at 6:10 pm and no one will be allowed into the auditorium after that time. We encourage all audience members to arrive to the auditorium early in order to guarantee admission to the event. Audience members must be in their seats at 6:15 pm and remain seated throughout the course of the debate. Following the debate, please exit the auditorium promptly.
Due to the size and nature of this event, audience members must agree to abide by the following rules upon ticket registration. Please review these rules before registering for your ticket, as you will be expected to adhere to each of them. Audience members who violate any of these rules or who otherwise interfere with or disrupt any aspect of the event may be promptly removed at the discretion of the debate sponsors and/or security.
- No audio recording, video recording, or flash photography in the auditorium during the debate.

- No campaign materials, literature, hats, stickers, signs, or banners are allowed inside the auditorium and may not be displayed or distributed within 150 feet of any entrance to the auditorium.

- Audience members are prohibited from applauding or making noise during the debates and may not do anything visible or audible to express support or opposition to any candidate.

- Audience members must remain seated for the duration of the debate.

- Audience members may not approach the stage before, during, or after the debate.

- Audience members may only sit in seats corresponding to their tickets. Tickets will be checked for admission to reserved-seating areas.

As a condition of registration and entry, audience members authorize the ABU Education Fund and the John R. Park Debate Society to market, transfer, assign, or otherwise make use of any photographs, likenesses, films, broadcasts, live-streams, audiotapes, and any other recordings taken of the event and of participant(s) while at the event, incident to, or in transit between the event parking and the event site, in any way they see fit for the promotion, coverage, or benefit of the event, without compensation to any of them, so long as their use neither jeopardizes nor endorses a specific product or service, and waive and release any rights in connection with such use, including any claim to invasion of privacy, right of publicity, or to misappropriation.


1. 4-5 Minutes - Moderator’s Introduction (welcome, rules, etc.)
2. 12 Minutes – Candidates’ Introductions
a. 3 minutes each; order determined by drawing numbers.
3. 55-60 Minutes - Moderated Q&A
a. Each candidate will have 2 minutes to respond to each question posed by the moderator.
b. Candidates will be offered the opportunity for rebuttal if, in the judgment of the moderator, an answer from one candidate
i. Candidates may request a rebuttal if they believe it is warranted based on this criteria.
ii. Candidates will defer to the moderator’s judgment regarding the appropriateness of a rebuttal
c. If, in the moderator’s judgment, one or more candidates has failed to directly address the question posed, the moderator may pose a follow-up question. The candidate will have up to 1 minute to provide an answer to the follow-up question.
d. Throughout the debate, the moderator will track the approximate amount of speaking time utilized by each candidate and make every reasonable effort to ensure an equitable distribution of time.
4. 12 Minutes – Candidates’ Closing Statements
a. 3 minutes each; candidates will reverse speaking order based on introductions
5. 3-4 Minutes - Moderator’s Conclusion


1. Candidates will be invited to submit 4-6 topics to the moderator approximately two weeks prior to the scheduled debate.
2. Approximately one week prior to the debate, the moderator will provide the final list of topics to the candidates. The moderator reserves to right to add or eliminate topics both prior to and during the debate as necessitated by time and political developments between the time topics are finalized and the night of the debate, etc.
3. Candidates will not have access to the final questions prior to the debate; however, every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that candidates have mutual access to all topics that may be included in the debate.
4. While topics will be submitted by candidates, if a question submitted by the public aligns with one or more of those topics, it may be utilized at the discretion of the moderator.


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Registration is required due to max capacity limits within the auditorium. When registering, please inform us which organization you represent and anything you may require for your reporting, including:

- space in auditorium for cameras or other recording devices,
- seating next to cameras or other recording devices,
- reserved parking for broadcast vehicles,
- access to press or mult box,
- Internet access (we will provide a livestream),
- etc, etc. We will do our best to accommodate your requests.

Debate Schedule:
4:00 pm -- Media may begin arriving at Eastmont. Staff members and volunteers will be present to check you in, give you your press credentials, and help you with any needs.
5:00 pm -- Ticket holders may begin lining up, if desired.
5:15 pm -- Doors open.
6:10 pm -- Doors close. We ask that any broadcast or recording equipment be set up by this time.
6:15 pm -- All audience members must be in their seats. Instructions and rules reminders will then be given to the audience.
6:30 pm -- Debate begins. See "Debate Format" for timing of debate.
8:00 pm -- Debate ends. Following the debate, the choral room next to the auditorium will be used for post-debate interviews with candidates.
9:30 pm - All audience members and press must be out of the building and off school grounds.
If you have any questions, contact Chase Thomas at (480) 532-1880 or chase@betterutah.org.


Media Advisory: Please Register for Credentials by Oct. 5

In preparation for the debate being held next week for the Third Congressional District
special election, the ABU Education Fund requests that members of the press interested in covering the debate register for press credentials by end of day tomorrow, October 5 .

Participants In Upcoming CD-3 Debate Announced

The top-four polling candidates for the 3rd District — based on the most recent poll from Dan Jones and commissioned by the Utah Debate Commission — were invited to participate in the debate. Accordingly, two third-party candidates will be joining the traditional Republican and Democratic candidates on stage to explore their views in front of a live audience.

Details Announced for CD-3 Special Election Debate

To complement the broadcasted two-candidate debate to be held by the Utah Debate Commission in Utah County, this debate will include a live audience, four candidates, and will be held in the Salt Lake County portion of the 3rd District, an area covering over 100,000 registered voters. The inclusion of four candidates will allow third-party candidates to explain their ideologies and beliefs to voters. Participants will be invited based on all available polling completed before September 23, after which formal invitations will be sent to the qualifying candidates.

Debate Announced for Third Congressional District Special Election

“During last year’s legislative debate series, a constituent told us she ‘came with an open mind and left with a yard sign,’” continued Kanter. “Our hope is this debate will serve that same purpose, allowing people to be more engaged in the democratic process.”


The ABU Education Fund and the John R. Park Debate Society partner regularly to host debates. They organize one of the only series of state legislative debates in Utah.
See below for some of the most recent debates held prior to the 2016 elections.

State School Board District 11 (2016)

Lisa Cummins and Erin Preston debated educational issues in their nonpartisan race for the open District 11 Utah State School Board seat. This was the first state school board debate held by the ABU Education Fund and the John R. Park Debate Society.
Learn more by reading the post from our 2016 ABU Education Fund intern, Dakota Park-Ozee.

Utah State House District 34 (2016)

Karen Kwan (D) debated Macade Jensen (R) during their campaigns for the open District 34 seat, which mostly consists of Taylorsville but also covers portions of Murray, Millcreek, West Valley City, and West Jordan.
Learn more by reading the post from our 2016 ABU Education Fund intern, Dakota Park-Ozee.

Utah State House District 49 (2016)

Incumbent, Rep. Bruce Cutler (R), once again debated Christine Passey (D) after he the seat two years before by only fifty-three votes following the canvass. District 44 covers parts of Midvale, Murray, and Sandy.
Learn more by reading the post from our 2016 ABU Education Fund intern, Dakota Park-Ozee.

Utah State House District 44 (2016)

As part of another sequel during the 2016 election cycle, Zach Robinson (D) took on incumbent, Rep. Robert Spendlove (R), during this debate for District 49, which covers Granite and parts of Sandy and Cottonwood Heights.
Learn more by reading the post from our 2016 ABU Education Fund intern, Dakota Park-Ozee.









United Utah






Independent American







*The top four polling candidates will qualify for the debate and will be announced on or shortly after September 23.

* ABU Ed Fund Logo
The ABU Education Fund, an affiliate of the Alliance for a Better Utah, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing a strong, educational voice by creating resources that advance civic engagement and good governance. For more information, visit abueducationfund.org.
The John R. Park Debate Society is the University of Utah’s national championship-winning competitive speech and debate program. Their programming includes regular issue forums and other community engagement. The Debate Society, founded in 1869, is the University of Utah’s oldest student organization. For more information, visit debate.utah.edu.