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Pat Bagley Cartoon Causes Debate Withdrawal

An 18 month old cartoon by Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley was the stated reason Utah Rep. Burgess Owens gave for withdrawing from a scheduled debate five hours before it began.

From The Gephardt Daily:

Utah [Representative] Burgess Owens announced just before 1 p.m. Wednesday that he would not participate in Wednesday pre-election debate scheduled for five hours later.

Incumbent Owens said he hoped to debate challengers Democrat Darlene McDonald and United Utah Party candidate January Walker at a future date, but he strongly opposed the chosen moderator for Wednesday’s debate, Lauren Gustus, the executive editor for the Salt Lake Tribune, due to her support of a cartoon the paper ran that depicted Owens as a KKK member.


The April 2021 Pat Bagley cartoon and Rep. Owens response at the time:

From The Deseret News:

Utah Rep. Burgess Owens pulled out of a scheduled debate Wednesday because the moderator is the executive editor of The Salt Lake Tribune, which he says ran a “racist” cartoon about him last year.

“I will not, in good conscience, have anything to do with the racist Salt Lake Tribune, and will therefore not participate in this debate,” the first-term Republican said in a video posted on YouTube. “I expect bias from such a liberal outlet, but racism is where I draw the line. I’ll also not be bullied into participating in a forum of unabashed bigots.”

From KTVX:

Bagley defended his cartoon on Twitter today, stating, “I make no apologies. Quotation is not defamation. I wasn’t the one here repeating 70-year-old KKK slanders against the weak and powerless.” The paper also criticized Owens’s stance on immigrants in an op-ed on April 15.

On Facebook Pat showed the Owens quote he used in the cartoon.

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