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SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah will host a vice presidential debate next year, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Friday.
The first national debate hosted in Utah is scheduled for Oct. 7, 2020, at Kingsbury Hall.
Utah is the only Western state selected for one of three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate. The Commission on Presidential Debates is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization and has sponsored all general election presidential and vice presidential debates since 1988.
U. President Ruth Watkins called it a “tremendous honor” to host the event.
“I am excited for our students to be able to participate in this important component of their political process,” she said. “It will be an incredible experience for them.”
I am delighted the Commission on Presidential Debates has selected the @UUtah as the host of the 2020 vice presidential debate. What an opportunity for us to showcase our state and for our students to experience this vital part of the political process. @Debates#UtahDebate2020pic.twitter.com/5j0vHOnVb7— Ruth V. Watkins (@RuthVWatkins) October 11, 2019
Vice President Mike Pence could be one of the participants should President Donald Trump win the Republican nomination and retain Pence as his running mate. The Democratic challenger will emerge later in the campaign.
The presidential debate commission will announce details about the debates, including the format and moderators, next year.
Gov. Gary Herbert said Utah has a proven track record for hosting large-scale events, such as the 2002 Winter Olympics. The state looks forward to welcoming the 2020 candidates and media from around the world.
“Utah has the opportunity to once again stand on the world stage to showcase our citizens, our values and our tremendous Utah lifestyle, said Thomas Wright, co-chairman of the Utah Debate Commission.
Karen Hale, Utah Debate Commission co-chairwoman, said the debate offers Utahns a unique opportunity for civic engagement.
“The national and international focus on a vice presidential debate here in Utah has the capacity to elevate residents’ curiosity and awareness about the issues and the candidates,” she said.