Utah Debate Commission Names Three Moderators

Aug 26, 2014

The Board of Directors of the Utah Debate Commission have announced who will moderate the commission’s first series of debates between candidates of Utah’s congressional and Attorney General races.

Members of the commission have selected Ken Verdoia, David Magleby, and Barbara Smith to moderate the five scheduled debates. Verdoia is the director of production for KUED, Magleby is a professor of political science at Brigham Young University, and Smith is the executive communications manager at the University of Utah. Verdoia also is a member of the Utah Debate Commission’s Board of Directors. He says his role as moderator is to make sure the exchange is as fair as possible.

“The moderator in a political debate, as far as I’m concerned, should be equal to a referee in a football or a soccer match," he says. "They call the fouls, they keep an eye on the clock, and they ensure that no one takes an untoward advantage over the other. The most important thing to do in a situation like this is not let the match get out of hand.”

The Utah Debate Commission was formed earlier this year in an attempt to create non-partisan and independent debates among candidates for statewide and federal offices in Utah. Its members consist of universities, local media, and community leaders. Candidates in the first congressional district race will kick off the series of debates on September 23 at Weber State University. All debates will be broadcast on Utah’s six major affiliate TV stations.