Utah Republican Party plans to hold its own debates, Senator Mike Lee will be there

May 13, 2022, 3:31 PM | Updated: 5:56 pm

Utah republican debates...

Left: Becky Edwards. Center: Ally Isom. Right: Sen. Mike Lee. Photo courtesy Campaign of Becky Edwards, Campaign of Ally Isom, and Campaign of Sen. Mike Lee

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Republican Party is planning to hold its own primary election debates for federal races, including the three-way GOP race for Senate.

Senator Mike Lee’s campaign says the senator will take the stage.

“Senator Lee will participate in the primary debate sanctioned by the Utah Republican Party,” Lee’s campaign told KSL NewsRadio in a text.

These debates will be separate from the ones being put on by the Utah Debate Commission (the Commission) after a week of back and forth, where Utah GOP Chair Carson Jorgensen urged candidates to hold off debating in the Commission debates arguing a republican primary debate should include input from the party.

Lee’s campaign did not say if he will participate in that one, slated for June 2nd.

Jorgensen told KSL NewsRadio on Friday they were close to settling on a date, time, and location.

“We’re going to try to do them before primary ballots go out, that’s a must,” Jorgensen said. “We are actively working with the campaigns to see which dates work for them so we can make sure everybody is there.”

The plan has critics

Some people have been critical of Jorgensen’s calls, arguing Utah’s Republican Party may be trying to shield candidates from participating in debates put on by the Commission.

“People are like, ‘oh, you’re trying to cover for Mike Lee, you’re trying to cover for Chris Stewart,” Jorgensen said. “I don’t cover for anybody. We actually want to see these people on the debate stage, and we want to make them feel comfortable to get on the debate stage.”

Jorgensen told KSL NewsRadio it is up to candidates to decide if they will participate in debates put on by the Commission. He said the planned Commission debates made some candidates wary over a lack of information and communication from the debate Commission.

Utah Republican debates: Who, what, when, where

Ally Isom and Becky Edwards have announced their participation in the Commission debates. KSL is working to confirm their participation in the GOP sponsored debates.

Jorgensen said a team is being put together to determine the date, time, and location of the GOP debates.

Reaction from the Utah Debate Commission

Utah Debate Commission Executive Director Erik Nielsen responded to the Republican Party’s plan to hold its own primary election debates.

“Again, we have a track record,” he said to KSL NewsRadio. “We have been producing debates since 2014. We have been producing primary debates since 2018. In 2018, we produced three debates – two of them were Republican and one was Democrat. In 2020, we produced five debates – four of them were Republican primaries and one of them as a Democrat primary. This year, it just happened to be they are all Republican. But nothing has changed in our mindset. We are producing independent, nonpartisan debates.”

Related stories


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

An official ballot drop box is pictured outside of the Salt Lake County Government Center on March ...

Becky Bruce

Research: Threats, harassment of local officials up 55% since 2022

Princeton University's Bridging Divides Initiative performed the research with Civic Pulse, surveying local elected officials nationwide about their experiences with threats. 

47 minutes ago


Ike Yospe

Dating at Her Age, a new KSL Podcast from Debbie Dujanovic

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. SALT LAKE CITY — “In 2024, dating is a disaster,” says KSL’s Debbie Dujanovic. Where dating apps […]

8 hours ago

Southbound traffic on Interstate 215 near 4700 South is being diverted because of a box truck that ...

Michael Houck,

I-215 southbound traffic halted after box truck fire

Southbound traffic on Interstate 215 near 4700 South was being diverted because of a box truck that caught fire Wednesday afternoon.

10 hours ago

Outside of Bonneville High School...

Heather Peterson

Bonneville High School opens new teen center to help students in crisis

Bonneville's new teen center has a kitchen, laundry, a shower, and a food pantry as well as a living room area, and study rooms.

12 hours ago

Utah lawmakers begin addressing several issues in a special session called by Gov. Spencer Cox....

Aimee Cobabe

Utah House passes bill requiring government to comply with Utah law, not portions of federal Title IX law

One of the biggest issues involves a bill passed during the regular session, having to do with the future of a coal power plant in Delta, Utah. 

12 hours ago

Ruth Zurcher Worthen, of Cache County, Utah, is accused of multiple counts of child abuse stretchin...

Simone Seikaly and Becky Bruce

Grandmother arrested in Cache County for aggravated sexual abuse of a child

Cache County resident Ruth Worthen faces 23 felony charges related to child sex abuse accusations, which come from several relatives over a 30-year period.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Utah Republican Party plans to hold its own debates, Senator Mike Lee will be there