Article courtesy of Fox 13 News, written by Ben Winslow and David Wells
SALT LAKE CITY -- Monday's GOP presidential debate scheduled here in Utah has been canceled, FOX 13 News has confirmed.
The decision to cancel the debate followed Donald Trump's announcement on "FOX & Friends" that he would not be appearing. Instead, he said he would be appearing at a pro-Israel group's event on Monday night. Trump dropping out led John Kasich to indicate he would not be appearing at Monday's debate.
"We had hoped to contrast Governor Kasich's positive inclusive approach to problem solving with Trump's campaign of division," said Kasich chief strategist John Weaver in an emailed statement to FOX 13. "If he changes his mind, we will be there."
Following phone conferences between FOX News Channel and the Republican National Committee, the event was canceled, representatives for the Salt Palace confirmed. Utah Republican Party officials told FOX 13 it was Kasich's decision to back out of Monday's debate that killed it. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz would have been the only candidate on stage.
"We're sorry it's not happening," said Bruce Hough, the Republican National Committeeman for Utah.
The Utah GOP said it received more than 50,000 ticket requests to attend Monday's debate.
"We thank those who have expressed interest in attending the debate and are saddened by the news however, we are extremely pleased that Utah was chosen as a debate location. Utah can no longer be considered a flyover state as recent events have proven," Utah GOP Chairman James Evans said in an email. "We will move forward and look ahead to Caucus on March 22, 2016."