SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Big news for Utah! The Republican National Committee announced today a Republican presidential debate will take place in Salt Lake City on March 21st.
For the first time in it’s history Utah will play host to a presidential debate. The GOP presidential candidates will descend on the Beehive State just one day before the Utah caucus.
“Having the debate in Utah which is one of the centers of the Republicans gravity I think goes a long way in helping the nation figure out – at least on the Republican side – who the nominee should be,” said James Evans, Chairman of the Utah Republican Committee.
It’s the culmination of months of hard work as Republican lawmakers couldn’t be more excited to bring the national spotlight to Salt Lake City.
“This is huge!” says Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R), “This is a big deal!”
“I’m excited!” said Congresswoman Mia Love (R), “I’m over the moon because we get to highlight Utah.”
The race for the White House has already shown to be an unusual one, with a non-establishment candidate leading in the polls. Republicans say this year, Utah could be one of the deciding factors in choosing their nominee.
“A lot of times presidential races by the time they roll around to Utah, they’ve come and gone but, there’s still a real race on our hands,” says Chaffetz.
“This is really about winning the White House and making sure that a Republican is in the White House. So, the fact that the debate is here in the state of Utah shows that we’ve been pushing Utah and shows the importance of why it’s important for these people to come to Utah,” says Love.
The announcement came just as ex-Florida Governor Jeb Bush suspended his campaign for the Oval Office, following his fourth place finish in the South Carolina primary with only 7.8% of the vote.
The exact venue and network that will carry the debate is not yet know. That will be left for the debate commission to decide.
Meanwhile, Utah has 40 delegates up at stake.