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Broadcast veterans Ken Verdoia and Barbara Smith, along with Brigham Young University political scientist David Magleby, will moderate a series of congressional and attorney general candidate debates leading up to the Nov. 4 election.
Behind the scenes, Nathan Hill, a director of Brazil's 2016 Summer Olympics and 11-time director of the Stadium of Fire July Fourth broadcast in Provo, will run the show, overseeing debate production.
The moderator and producer lineup was announced Monday by the Utah Debate Commission, a consortium of universities, colleges and media organizations, including The Salt Lake Tribune, striving for a nonpartisan independent system of candidate debates for major office in the state.
Verdoia, KUED-TV director of production, has 40 years experience as a professional journalist while Smith, University of Utah executive communications manager, is a former anchor and reporter at ABC4 in Salt Lake City. Magleby, former dean of the BYU College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, is an acknowledged expert on campaign finance.
Former Utah Gov. Olene Walker, a commission board member, praised the high caliber of moderators selected.
"They bring years of expertise, a deep understanding of the issues confronting the state of Utah, and a great enthusiasm for the political process to the debates," Walker said in a news release.
The debates begin Sept. 23 at Weber State University with a meeting of 1st Congressional District candidates. Second Congressional District hopefuls come together Sept. 25 at Southern Utah University; attorney general candidates are scheduled to square off Oct. 1 at BYU; followed by 3rd Congressional District aspirants Oct. 7 at Utah Valley University; and, finally, 4th District candidates Oct. 14 at the U. All the hourlong debates start at 6 p.m.
Fall debate lineup
1st Congressional District • Sept. 23, 6 p.m., Weber State University, Shepherd Union Building, Ballroom B.
2nd Congressional District • Sept. 25, 6 p.m., Southern Utah University, Sharwan Smith Student Center, Sterling R. Church Auditorium.
Utah attorney general • Oct. 1, 6 p.m., Brigham Young University, KBYU Studios.
3rd Congressional District • Oct. 7, 6 p.m., Utah Valley University, Library Lecture Hall.
4th Congressional District • Oct. 14, 6 p.m., University of Utah, KUED Studios.