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Recapping the District 1 Republican Primary Debate

Rep. Blake Moore faced off with primary challenger Paul Miller. Some topics at Monday’s occasionally feisty debate included healthcare, the war in Ukraine and abortion regulation. 
%28Chris+Samuels+%7C+The+Salt+Lake+Tribune%29+Paul+Miller%2C+left%2C+and+Blake+Moore+during+a+1st+Congressional+District+GOP+primary+debate+at+the+Eccles+Broadcast+Center+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+Monday%2C+June+10%2C+2024.
Chris Samuels
(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Paul Miller, left, and Blake Moore during a 1st Congressional District GOP primary debate at the Eccles Broadcast Center in Salt Lake City, Monday, June 10, 2024.

 

“There’s one thing that I have that Blake doesn’t have,” Paul Miller said in his opening statement during the Republican Primary Debate for Utah’s 1st Congressional District on Monday. “I am the middle class.”

Miller is challenging Rep. Blake Moore for a seat in the House of Representatives. Moore has served as District 1’s representative since 2021. 

The debate sets the stage for this year’s primary election. The Republican primary winner will face Democratic candidate Bill Campbell in the general election. 

Some topics at Monday’s occasionally feisty debate included healthcare, the war in Ukraine and abortion regulation. 

Healthcare

Moore argued that the U.S. needed to create a market based on competition and transparency to lower healthcare costs. 

“I think [healthcare] is one industry that the federal government needs to have less regulation,” Miller said. “And we need to not always turn to the federal government to solve all of our problems.”

When it came to Medicare, Moore and Miller seemed to agree that it needed reworking. Moore argued that more data and research were required so that future recommendations for the program were fact-based. Miller agreed that a more efficient plan for Medicare was necessary.

“We need to filter out some of the waste,” Miller explained.

War in Ukraine 

The candidates were asked whether they would support a U.S. military response if Russia expanded its war in NATO countries. 

“If Article 5 is breached, Russia were to invade one of our NATO allies, we would respond,” Moore said. “We will respond, but we will be putting American lives at risk in that situation. We need to do everything we can to deter that from happening.”

Moore also referenced the Sentinel project and the importance of nuclear deterrence. He specifically cited the 1994 Budapest Memorandum (though he incorrectly stated the deal was from 1991). The agreement saw Ukraine denuclearize in exchange for protection from the U.S., U.K. and Russia. 

“[Sentinel] keeps global security across the entire world because people know not to mess with us,” Moore explained. 

Miller said he was “anti-Russia” and that if Russia expanded its war “there probably is going to be a response because we are in that [NATO] agreement.” 

Miller also criticized sanctions placed on Russia by the Biden administration, stating they were not effective in deterring Russia’s attacks. 

“One thing that I want to bring up about Ukraine is Ukraine is not an ally,” Miller said. “So what is the end goal with Ukraine? Why do we keep funding the Ukraine war? Because Ukraine does not really have a real economic impact on the U.S.”

When asked what Congress could do about the war in Ukraine, Moore said Russia could be deterred with financial support for Ukraine without risking American lives. 

“They’re fighting for their own democracy, and we have supported them with less than 0.2% of our GDP,” Moore said. 

“It’s not our job to protect democracy all around the world,” Miller rebutted. 

Abortion Regulations

When asked about abortion, Miller initially seemed hesitant to support any federal abortion regulations. 

“Abortion needs to remain in the states’ power,” Miller said. 

But just seconds later, Miller backtracked, saying, “I would actually be in favor of a national abortion ban.”

Moore, on the other hand, said it’s important to support women and families who have to make difficult decisions, but “we need to make sure we do everything we can to protect the sanctity of life.” 

“We need to make this about the women and children that this ultimately affects,” Moore said. He did not outright say whether he would support legislation federally banning abortion.

The primary election day is June 25, but mail-in ballots must be postmarked by June 24. The last day to register for the primary election is June 14. Information on voter registration can be found here

 

[email protected]

@JosiHinds

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About the Contributor
Josi Hinds
Josi Hinds, News Editor
(she/her) Josi Hinds is a senior at the University of Utah studying journalism with a minor in Spanish. She spent a year as an arts writer before moving to the news desk as editor. Josi grew up in Bozeman, Montana before moving to Salt Lake for school. In her free time, she enjoys climbing, arts and crafts and caring for her plants.

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    E. BrownJun 11, 2024 at 10:05 pm

    Your very first comment grabbed my attention so strongly that I will definitely be voting in the primary.

    Reply