Castillo, Eliason take jabs at Bishop in 1st Congressional District debate

Utah Representative Rob Bishop wants voters to give him one more term come November. But two other candidates were very vocal Wednesday night at the 1st Congressional District debate about why he shouldn’t have that seat again in Congress. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Utah Representative Rob Bishop wants voters to give him one more term come November. But two other candidates were very vocal Wednesday night at the 1st Congressional District debate about why he shouldn’t have that seat again in Congress.

“I’m the only republican that’s in this race," Bishop said. "I am the only conservative, and I am proud of those two facts."

The other two candidates, Lee Castillo, a Democrat from Layton, and Eric Eliason, a United Utah Party candidate from Logan, both who started out with jabs at Bishop and Washington out the gate.

“I think that it’s time that we have somebody in congress who actually represents the people,” Castillo said.

“I am frustrated with politicians in Washington who refuse to do the work and refuse to tackle the tough issues,” Eliason said.

From gun control to immigration, many topics were on the table for the trio.

The debate got particularly heated when candidates were asked about climate change. Castillo called out Bishop for being on the Natural Resources Committee, and "doing nothing."

“If our representatives were doing their jobs, instead of focusing on how to 'drill baby, drill,' we wouldn’t have a backlog,” Castillo said.

Both Eliason and Castillo went after Bishop when it came to public lands, something he took personally. He said he votes with his conscience.

"I find it offensive when people say I do things for money," he said.

Although Bishop is favored in polls to win, the two other candidates are still hopeful.

Castillo, in a post-debate press conference, said he was nervous at first but thought he'd stood his ground.

“I am running because we need change," Castillo said. "We need people in office that care about the people they represent."

Eliason re-iterated he's running for Utah's purple people those who do not feel at home in the Democratic or Republican parties.

“There’s a red store and a blue store, and there’s actually 47 percent of people in between," Eliason said. "It’s the biggest group, but yet there’s no one out representing them."

Bishop said his campaigning to get votes isn’t over yet, but said, if elected, he does not plan to run again after another term.

“I am term-limiting myself by saying this is my last term," he said.

He said he hopes Utah voters will give him the seat "one last time."

"I am really hopeful for that," Bishop said. "I have no way of predicting it, nor would I actually want to go on a limb and try to predict what would happen.”

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