Owens agrees to debate with McDonald in Utah’s 4th District race on one condition

Oct 21, 2022, 3:39 PM | Updated: Oct 25, 2022, 3:53 pm

4th district new debate...

Candidates for Utah's 4th Congressional District: Darlene McDonald and Rep. Burgess Owens. (Photos: left, Utah Democrats, right, U.S. House of Representatives)

(Photos: left, Utah Democrats, right, U.S. House of Representatives)

SALT LAKE CITY — Voters in Utah’s 4th Congressional District learned on Friday that the incumbent, Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT) had set up a debate with the Democratic challenger Darlene McDonald. That debate is reportedly scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28.

Later voters learned that Rep. Owens agreed to the debate with at least one stipulation — that a Utah newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, would not be allowed to participate.

Owens’ stipulation about excluding the Tribune was confirmed to KSL NewsRadio by Jesse Ranney, who said “I can confirm that was the stipulation.”

Hours after the public learned of the new debate plans, Democratic challenger, McDonald, released a statement via Twitter saying her campaign was “uncomfortable” with the exclusion of the Tribune.

“We are uncomfortable with any media being excluded because it gives an opportunity for any or all media in the future to be shut out of a functioning government and thriving democracy,” the statement reads.

Despite their concern, it appears that the McDonald campaign agreed to the debate.

Earlier on Friday, McDonald said the location of the Oct. 28 debate had not yet been announced. It will be moderated by James Curry, a political science professor at the University of Utah.

United Utah candidate excluded

Along with excluding the Tribune, the invitation to debate was not extended to January Walker, the United Utah candidate running for the 4th District seat.  Walker told KSL that news of the debate was disappointing.

“If the roles were reversed and it was Darlene (McDonald) that wasn’t invited, or even Burgess (Owens) that wasn’t invited to a different debate, I would have insisted that they be invited to attend,” Walker said.

Walker speculated that Owens’ campaign was trying to control his environment by not inviting her. Meanwhile, her party, the United Utah Party said they were outraged.

“We are outraged at the fact that Burgess Owens took over the debate forum and uninvited our debate-qualifying candidate,” said Wayne Woodfield, the vice chair of the United Utah Party in an email to KSL NewsRadio.

“It is corrupt, cowardly, and should offend the sensitivities of every Utahn that believes in an open and fair election process.”

Owens did not participate in a 4th District debate on Oct. 12. That debate was sponsored by the Utah Debate Commission and moderated by Lauren Gustus, the executive editor of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Owens said he would not debate on Oct. 12 because of the tie between the moderator and the Salt Lake Tribune, which he has called a ‘racist’ newspaper. 


We want to hear from you.

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


An American Fork third-grade teacher is well-known for transforming his classroom into his own vers...

Eric Cabrera

American Fork third-grade teacher transforms classroom into Hogwarts

An American Fork third-grade teacher is well-known for transforming his classroom into his own version of Harry Potter's Hogwarts.

7 hours ago

Pele, a gorilla and expectant mother at Hogle Zoo...

Kyle Remund

Hogle Zoo announces upcoming baby gorilla

Hogle Zoo has announced the pregnancy of Pele, an endangered western lowland gorilla. Her new baby is expected to arrive this summer.

12 hours ago

Panguitch Lake...

Kennedy Camarena

Panguitch City evacuation notice lifted as dam damage control continues

With mitigation efforts underway, evacuation notice has been lifted for Panguitch Lake and the surrounding area.

13 hours ago

The Utah Highway Patrol car, the uhp is cracking down on distracted driving...

Heather Peterson

Law enforcement agencies cracking down on distracted driving

More than 40 Utah law enforcement agencies will be out on the road through Sunday, April 14 to look out for distracted driving.

15 hours ago

KB Richins, one of two Utahns currently competing on American Idol, performs Monday night on ABC ne...

Mark Jackson

Two Utahns advance to American Idol’s Top 20

Two singers from Utah have successfully made it as two of the last 20 contestants left to compete against one another in American Idol.

15 hours ago

photo of the Arizona Coyotes on a rink...

Kyle Ireland, KSL Sports

Arizona Coyotes Head Coach André Tourigny addresses relocation reports

Arizona Coyotes head coach André Tourigny addressed the situation during an interview with Arizona Sports‘ Wolf & Luke Show on Thursday.

17 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Live Nation Concerts

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.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Owens agrees to debate with McDonald in Utah’s 4th District race on one condition