Mitt Romney and Jenny Wilson hold their one and only debate

Posted at 8:17 PM, Oct 09, 2018

CEDAR CITY, Utah -- In a largely collegial debate, Mitt Romney and Jenny Wilson dispensed with their titles to call each other "Mitt" and "Jenny."

They found areas of agreement on issues like the Senate process to confirm Supreme Court justices and healthcare coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. But they disagreed on issues like immigration, gun control and tariffs.

Mitt Romney and Jenny Wilson debate at Southern Utah University. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

The two spent an hour before a crowd at Southern Utah University discussing their differing views on Utah, Romney agreed that either would represent the state well.

On taxes, Wilson criticized the GOP-led cuts.

"I did not like the fact the taxes got reduced on higher income people," Romney said. "I’m not going to vote for lower taxes on high income people."

Romney said states should lead out on gun control.

"Hope and prayers are not enough when it comes to the terrible devastation in our schools," Wilson said, accusing her opponent of changing his stances on them in his previous runs for office.

At a couple of points in the debate, she dubbed him "multiple choice Mitt."

"To me this is just about who will best serve our state. We continue to hear from people that he hasn’t been consistent," she told reporters afterward.

Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, meet with supporters after the debate at Southern Utah University. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

When asked about President Trump, Wilson said she would support impeachment if Robert Mueller's investigation found impeachable offenses. Romney refused to revisit his past criticism of the president.

"I’ll be with the president when I think he’s right for the country, for the state," Romney told reporters afterward. "If and when he ever something I think is divisive, misogynistic or anti-immigrant or racist, I’ll call him out on it. I hope that will never happen."

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential candidate, is polling to win the race against Wilson, who serves on the Salt Lake County Council. The two are vying to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who is not seeking re-election.

This is the only debate between the two. Wilson has repeatedly challenged Romney to debates, but he has only agreed to this one. She told reporters she intends to keep pushing as ballots go out across the state over the next few days.

Jenny Wilson poses for a selfie after the debate at SUU. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

"We will continue to talk to people. I will continue to connect," she said.

Romney told reporters he was running for U.S. Senate with no plans to seek the presidency again.

"I’m not running for president again. I’ve been there. Done that. A couple times, actually," he said.

Security at Tuesday's debate was increased significantly from the Sept. 17 event between 2nd District Congressman Chris Stewart and his Democratic challenger, Shireen Ghorbani. At that debate, a man rushed the stage and screamed into Rep. Stewart's microphone before being arrested. (Court records show he later pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disrupting a meeting and was ordered to pay a $680 fine with a suspended 180-day jail sentence.)

Uniformed security was seen patrolling SUU's arena and entrances were limited for the Romney/Wilson debate.

Watch the debate here: