If you can't convince your opponent to debate with you, just do the next best thing -- debate a cardboard cutout of him. That's what former Utah state Sen. Dan Liljenquist is doing in his campaign against Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Liljenquist has been relentlessly pressuring Hatch for more debates. He even focused his first television ad on the matter. Hatch has agreed to just one radio debate.
Now, Liljenquist is upping the ante with his decision to debate a cardboard cutout of Hatch. The Provo Daily Herald:
Senate hopeful Dan Liljenquist intends to debate a cardboard cutout of Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Thursday night.
Liljenquist's campaign manager, Holly Richardson, confirmed to the Daily Herald on Monday that Liljenquist plans on holding a debate at the Sons of Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City on Thursday evening where he will debate the cardboard representation of Utah's senior senator.
"We are going to have a large TV screen there and play Sen. Hatch's answers," said Richardson, noting that Hatch's voice will still be heard at the debate.
Richardson claimed the move is not new to Utah politics as she said Hatch also held debates against cardboard cutouts of his primary opponent when he ran for the Senate in 1976. Richardson stated that Hatch said at his cardboard debate that his opponent seemed like he had decided he doesn't have to run a race. She called Hatch's past statement ironic.
Hatch's campaign manager Dave Hansen called the Thursday night debate a gimmick by the Liljenquist team to try to drum up press coverage for their candidate.
Liljenquist isn't the only one frustrated with Hatch's posture. Some of the state's largest newspapers have run editorials urging Hatch to debate his challenger in a televised setting. Hatch's campaign says that he only has time for the one radio debate because of his responsibilities in Washington.