SANDY, Utah, US (sentinel.ht) – For voters in Utah’s 4th district, congressional candidate Doug Owen’s intention to vote for Hillary Clinton for president was made as an issue judgement, long before he would ever get to Capitol Hill and incumbent Congresswoman Mia Love made a point of that early in their debate Monday night.
Republican Representative Mia Love faced off against her Democratic challenger in their first, and likely only, debate of the 2016 election for Utah’s 4th congressional district. The debate was held at Salt Lake Community College’s Sandy campus and moderated by Ken Verdola of the Utah Debate Commission.
Early on, both candidates were asked to defend the top of their party’s ticket. Owens said he would be voting for Hillary Clinton and Love lambasted him, listing every crime and failure of the former Secretary of State including putting US secrets at risk through the use of a private email server and failing to protect US diplomats in Benghazi Libya.
However, Love said she would not be endorsing Donald Trump for president, although he has promised to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s tenure at the State Department and work to levy indictments as necessary. None the less, Love’s early exchange on the highly unpopular candidates for both parties, set the tone and Owens never seemed to recover.
More recap from KSL.com:
There was less friction between the candidates on other issues raised in the debate, including whether to increase the minimum wage and how to ease student debt.
For Love, the answer to both those questions was relying on the free market. She said “artificially” raising the minimum wage would hurt the economy and that the federal government shouldn’t have a monopoly on student loans.
Owens, however, said it was time to look at raising the minimum wage and pledged to “get every federal dollar I can into the education system” to reduce the cost of student loans.
Gender equality was also discussed. Love said it is “incredibly difficult to deal with the environment of a male-dominated Congress.” Owens talked about staying home with his young children while his wife was in medical school.
The race for the seat once held by the last Democrat to serve in Congress from Utah, Jim Matheson, is expected to be among the most competitive in the state this election even though it is no longer seen nationally as a toss-up.
Love lost to Matheson in 2012 in a close race, but two years later, Owens came within 5 percentage points of winning. He has attracted support from the national Democratic Party this election, but Love is leading in the polls.