POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Utah Debate Commission investigation results: Lee vs McMullin debate

Jan 10, 2023, 2:01 PM | Updated: Jan 16, 2023, 4:01 pm

debate...

Sen. Mike Lee and Evan McMullin are pictured: (Ivy Ceballo and Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Ivy Ceballo and Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — On Oct. 12, 2020, after a debate between Sen. Lee and Evan McMullin, questions about fairness led to an investigation by the Utah Debate Commission. 

More so, the Debate Commission issued its findings.

The findings first state, “observations and reports from the debate were that the unbalanced crowd was disruptive and disrespectful.”

According to Phil Cooper, Utah Debate Commission Treasurer, the debate attendees were disproportionately in favor of Sen. Lee. Additionally, members of the crowd conducted themselves in a disrespectful and violating manner. 

As a result, the Board requested a review of the ticketing process.

Through investigation, officials found that ticket sales went live at 1:50 p.m. on Oct. 4. That said, this was not communicated by Director Erik Nielson to Lee nor McMullin’s campaigns until 6:48 p.m. that same evening. 

Further, Lee’s campaign was persistent in monitoring the ticketing process according to Cooper. And at 1:50 p.m. two tickets were purchased by Lee’s communications director. 

Within the next hour, 93% of the general public tickets had been reserved. Around five and half hours later when McMullin’s campaign became aware of the sales, no general public tickets were left. 

“I found no evidence that the Lee campaign was ‘tipped off’, received inappropriate inside information or received advance notice of the timing for ticket availability,” Cooper said in a press release.

“Rather, it appears that they became aware from checking the ticketing site regularly. Their assertiveness and near-constant monitoring gave them an advantage given the unfortunate timing of Nielsen’s email communication.”

Ticketing solutions 

Finally, the board is considering suggestions to avoid the situation from repeating.  Suggestions regarding both the ticketing process and management of the debate. 

Additionally, suggestions include, establishing a time for ticket availability and advertising it well in advance. Other suggestions are reserved seating, giving a larger percentage of tickets to students and potentially reverting to paper tickets.

Related reading

We want to hear from you.

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

Politics + Government

gabby petito shown, her death inspired a law meant to prevent other domestic violence deaths...

Heather Peterson

“Gabby Petito Act” signed into law in Florida

The "Gabby Petito Act" is similar to a law adopted in Utah last year.

22 hours ago

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson...

Daniel Woodruff

New Utah school safety law earns praise from victims’ families, but cost concerns persist

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson ceremonially signed HB84 into law during an event Wednesday at the University of Utah.

1 day ago

Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S, Oksana Markarova, speaking with different Utah leaders while visit...

BY ERIN COX KSLTV.com

Ambassador of Ukraine to U.S. meets with Utah state and church leaders

For the first time, Oksana Markarova, Ukrainian Ambassador to the US, paid Utah a visit. It’s a connection that’s been years in the making.

1 day ago

former slc mayor ted wilson...

Tammy Kikuchi

Former SLC Mayor Ted Wilson dies at 84

Ted Wilson served as the mayor of Salt Lake City in the 70s and 80s.

2 days ago

speaker of the house mike johnson shown,...

ERIC TUCKER and FARNOUSH AMIRI

Bill to reauthorize key US spy tool blocked by conservative revolt

The breakdown comes months after a similar process to reform and reauthorize the surveillance program fell apart before it even reached the House floor.

2 days ago

subscriptions...

Curt Gresseth

New Utah law targets auto-renewal subscriptions

A new Utah law says companies now have between 30 and 60 days to notify subscribers of their upcoming automatic renewal.

3 days 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.

Utah Debate Commission investigation results: Lee vs McMullin debate