SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – The Utah Debate Commission (UTDC) has announced which candidates will be invited to participant in a debate for the 3rd Congressional District.
The candidates who qualified for the debate were determined by poll results. The UTDC conducted a poll of participants from registered voters in the district.
The threshold for participation – set by the UTDC Board of Directors in 2013 – was 10 percent less the margin of error. The margin of error is 3.98 percent. Candidates who achieved 6.02 percent or higher qualified to debate. Based on the results of the poll, the UTDC extended invitations to Republican John Curtis and Democrat Kathie Allen.
Candidate for the newly-formed United Utah Party responded to the debate commission’s decision Tuesday.
“There’s never been a third-party candidate in these debates, and I was confident that I’d be the first,” Bennett said. “As it stands, I got closer than anyone else in Utah history, although it’s disappointing to fall short by such a tiny margin.”
Bennett’s campaign manager Tim Fullmer took issue with the margin of error on the poll. He says that margin - 0.43% - raises some questions about the differences between this year’s poll and those conducted previously.
“In years past, the sample size in these polls has been 400 registered voters,” said Tim Fullmer, Jim Bennett’s campaign manager. “This year, it was just over 600 voters, which reduced the margin of error and gave Jim a higher threshold to cross. While we respect the commission’s decision, we think the discrepancy ought to be enough to get them to reconsider.”
The 3rd Congressional Special Election Debate will be held on Wednesday, October 18 on the Brigham Young University campus. The debate will be from 6 to 7 p.m. and hosted by David Magleby.
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