SALT LAKE CITY — The Republican candidates for Utah's Fourth Congressional District clashed over face masks and personal liberties in a pandemic and a riot during their only televised debate.
Trent Christensen, Kim Coleman, Jay McFarland and Burgess Owens debated issues ranging from the violent protests across the state to COVID-19 response and Obamacare. They largely found themselves in agreement on issues, but disagreed over whether it was appropriate to wear a face mask in public.
"Who's making you wear a mask?" McFarland said, questioning why his fellow candidates would not just to be kind to their neighbor.
Coleman said while she generally does not, she practices social distancing. Christensen and Owens said they chose not to.
Owens repeatedly declared left-leaning people as "Marxists and Socialists." It brought rebukes from some of his fellow candidates in response to a question about reaching across the aisle, although Coleman did note that some in Congress refer to themselves as "socialists."
Asked about Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall's curfew orders to curb violent protests, Coleman indicated she had concerns about curbing liberties with some of the emergency orders related to a crisis.
"They can, if we let them," she said.
Christensen suggested there is no time to rescind personal liberties. McFarland disagreed, backing some of the orders.
Whomever wins the GOP primary will go on to challenge incumbent Democratic Congressman Ben McAdams in the November election.
Watch the entire debate here: