- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Republican candidate for governor is criticizing Gov. Gary Herbert for refusing to debate him this year ahead of next year’s election.

Jonathan Johnson, the chairman of Overstock.com’s board, said this week that he and Herbert have been invited to participate in debates but the Republican governor has declined.

Johnson’s campaign spokeswoman Sasha Clark says in a statement that voters deserve a debate now because new state election rules allow candidates to begin gathering signatures in January to get on the ballot.

She says if Herbert can hold campaign fundraisers this year, he should debate.

Herbert’s campaign spokesman Marty Carpenter says the governor is doing the job voters elected him to do and looks forward to debating in 2016.

Herbert has been governor since 2009, when then-Gov. Jon Huntsman resigned to serve as U.S. ambassador to China.

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