- Associated Press - Friday, June 16, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - The Latest on a debate among Republicans running to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz (all times local):

9:50 p.m.

Eleven Republicans running to replace U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz say they’d all like to scale back the U.S. government’s spending and repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law if they win a special election this year.

The candidates participated in two debates Friday night, divided up by how they polled among GOP delegates who will winnow the crowded field on Saturday.

The top-tier candidates, including two state lawmakers and the Provo mayor, discussed how they’d like to cut government spending by targeting the U.S. Department of Education and reforming Social Security.

The candidates also said they’d like to see Utah’s new Bears Ears National Monument rescinded and the law that gives presidents broad power to declare monuments curbed.

All 11 will compete at a convention Saturday where 1,000 GOP delegates will pick one to compete in a primary election.


8 p.m.

Six Republicans vying for the Utah congressional seat that Rep. Jason Chaffetz is vacating are calling for Congress to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law and balance the federal budget.

The six candidates appeared in one of two debates Friday, the night before a convention where Utah’s GOP will winnow the field of a dozen candidates.

Debate organizers said the six candidates appearing in the first debate - Shayne Row, Debbie Aldrich, Brad Daw, Damian Kidd, Keith Kuder and Paul Fife - all polled lower among delegates.

The candidates largely agreed on issues and drew applause from the audience of about 150 people when calling to keep Utah tax dollars in the state instead of sending them to Washington, D.C.

Five other candidates that polled higher among delegates were scheduled to debate later Friday night.


2:40 a.m.

At least 10 Republicans running to replace U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz will face off in two debates Friday, the eve of a Utah GOP convention where delegates will winnow the crowded field.

The debates scheduled to occur at an Orem high school have been organized by a group of Republican delegates.

The five candidates they say polled highest will debate at 7:30 p.m. The others will debate about an hour earlier.

Chaffetz’s decision to resign his reliably Republican seat attracted more than a GOP dozen candidates.

Most of the candidates are vying to become their party’s nominee by competing for the votes of about 1,000 delegates on Saturday.

At least two candidates will bypass that competition by taking advantage of a 2014 law allowing them to instead gather voter signatures and compete in an August primary election.

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