Following through on his threats made to Utah's senior senator, Dan Liljenquist held a mock debate Thursday night against Orrin Hatch.
Liljenquist made the threat after Hatch declined to debate him in eight debates scattered throughout Utah after the two advanced from the Republican state convention.
Earlier in the week Liljenquist's campaign said the debate would include a cardboard cutout of Utah's senior senator if Hatch chose not to attend the debate. Hatch was in Washington, D.C., Thursday night, but Liljenquist's campaign opted instead to use video clips of Hatch from previous debates and cable news interviews instead of a paper re-creation of him.
Liljenquist ran through a series of preselected questions from a moderator that fit in with the video clips of Hatch that the Liljenquist campaign had compiled. The questions mostly focused on policy differences between Hatch and Liljenquist and also provided opportunities for Liljenquist to take small jabs at Hatch in front of a pro-Liljenquist crowd that gathered at the Sons of Utah Pioneers building in Salt Lake City.
Earlier in the day Hatch spoke about the faux debate on Sean Hannity's national radio program. Hatch said Liljenquist had every right to hold the pretend debate but said it was an attempt to embarrass him. Hatch's campaign also released a statement calling the Liljenquist event a media circus side show.
"Voters have already overwhelmingly rejected Dan multiple times and there's nothing new that he can say tonight that will change the fact that they just don't want him to represent them," stated the Hatch campaign statement.
The Team Orrin statement went on to point out that Hatch is busy attending to his senatorial duties this week in Washington, D.C. According to the statement Hatch has spent the week fighting tax increases, passing bills that challenge provisions in President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, and said he voted against a farm bill that included $1 trillion in spending.
The duo debated twice prior to the convention and have agreed to do one more radio debate to be held on June 15. Republicans will pick between Hatch and Liljenquist in their closed primary on June 26.