A major Republican gubernatorial primary will occur in Utah next year as former Gov. Jon Huntsman, as expected, declared his candidacy for Governor, a position he held from 2005 to his resignation in 2009 when President Obama appointed him US Ambassador to China.
Mr. Huntsman will face Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox in the June 23rd Republican primary election. The eventual GOP nominee will almost assuredly replace Gov. Gary Herbert (R), who has already endorsed Mr. Cox and chose not to seek a fourth term. Mr. Herbert, then Lt. Governor, replaced Mr. Huntsman when the latter man resigned the position to accept the China appointment. Most recently, Mr. Huntsman resigned as President Trump’s Ambassador to Russia.
Burgess Owens (R) is a former professional football player and Super Bowl champion during his career with the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets. Yesterday, Mr. Owens, now a resident of Utah declared his candidacy in the Republican primary for freshman Rep. Ben McAdams’ (D-Salt Lake City) 4th Congressional District.
Since leaving football, Mr. Owens founded a non-profit organization to help “at-risk and incarcerated youth experience the American Dream.” He is the author of a book entitled, “Why I Stand: From the Killing Fields of Socialism.” Five other Republicans are already in the race including state Sen. Dan Hemmert (R-Orem), state Rep. Kim Coleman (R-West Jordan), and former radio talk show host Jay Mcfarland.
US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman (R), a former Utah Governor and ex-presidential candidate, officially resigned his federal position at the end of last week. It is expected that he will soon enter the open race to re-claim his state’s gubernatorial position. Gov. Gary Herbert (R), who succeeded Gov. Huntsman when President Obama appointed the latter man as US Ambassador to China, is not seeking re-election to a fourth term. Already in the GOP race is Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and real estate investor Jeff Burningham.
In what will be a Top Five Republican target race nationally, state Sen. Dan Hemmert (R-Orem) yesterday announced his congressional candidacy. If successful in the GOP primary, he will face freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City), the former Mayor of Salt Lake County.
Also in the race is former radio talk show host and software gaming developer Jay Mcfarland and former Utah Republican Party Communications Director Kathleen Anderson. Former Rep. Mia Love (R), who has not ruled out running again, previously said she would not seek a re-match with Rep. McAdams if Sen. Hemmert would seek the position.
Utah’s 4th District that encompasses more than half of Salt Lake County, almost all of Juab, and parts of Sanpete and Utah Counties is one of the most Republican seats that elected a Democrat to Congress in 2018. Therefore, the upcoming race looks to be as competitive for freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City) as was his campaign last November when he unseated then-Rep. Mia Love (R) by 694 votes from just under 270,000 cast ballots.
Yesterday, state Rep. Kim Coleman (R-West Jordan) joined the growing field of Republican candidates. She will oppose former radio talk show host and gaming application developer Jay Mcfarland, who refers to himself as “JayMac”, ex-Utah Republican Party communications director Kathleen Anderson, and Iraq War veteran John Molnar in the Republican primary. It is clear the general election contest will be a top-tier challenge race next year.
US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman (R), a former twice-elected Utah Governor and ex-Ambassador to China, resigned his position yesterday and plans to return to his home state. It is widely believed that the former Governor, who was elected in 2004 and 2008, will again run for the state’s top position. He will face Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox in the Republican primary with the winner becoming the heavy favorite to the retain the Governorship for the party in November. Gov. Gary Herbert (R) is retiring after winning three terms in office.
In the last election, then-Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D) unseated Rep. Mia Love (R) by just 694 votes, the second closest raw vote margin of any US House race in the country. Now, Mr. McAdams will stand for re-election in what is typically a safe Republican district.
Yesterday, Republicans saw a new candidate step forward. Jay McFarland is a local radio talk show host and gaming app developer. He has created over 100 successful gaming apps and his talk program is widely listened to in Utah.
Regardless of who the Republicans nominate, the 4th District race will be competitive and hard fought. Former Rep. Love has not ruled out a return match, but it appears less likely that she will run as more time passes. A McAdams-McFarland race would likely be considered a toss-up.
Also announced for the GOP are former state Republican Party communications director Kathleen Anderson and Iraq War veteran John Molnar.
The man thought to be the Republican leadership’s top candidate recruitment prospect to challenge freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City), state Sen. Dan McCay (R-Riverton), said yesterday that he will not run for Congress. Mr. McAdams unseated then-Rep. Mia Love (R) in one of the tightest elections in the country last year, a win of less than two votes per precinct. Even without Mr. McCay as their candidate, Republicans will find a top-notch opponent to challenge what should be a vulnerable freshman Democrat in the coming election.
Retiring US Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Brigham City) confirmed yesterday that he is contemplating entering the open 2020 Governor’s race and will decide by September. In the GOP race is Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who carries retiring Gov. Gary Herbert’s endorsement. Businessman and real estate investor Jeff Burningham is also an announced candidate. Former state House Speaker Greg Hughes says he will enter the race this summer, and ex-Governor and current US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman is said to also be considering making an electoral comeback.
Jon Huntsman (R) served as Utah Governor from 2005-2009, leaving to become US Ambassador to China in the Obama Administration. He then became a Republican presidential candidate in 2012. Currently, Mr. Huntsman serves in the Trump Administration as US Ambassador to Russia, and before his election as Governor was US Ambassador to Singapore in the George W. Bush Administration. Now, there is mounting evidence that he will soon resign his current diplomatic post and again seek the Governorship of his home state.
A Huntsman entry would drastically change the Republican primary. In the race is Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, whom retiring Gov. Gary Herbert (R) has already endorsed, and state House Speaker Greg Hughes (R) said he plans to announce his own campaign sometime during the summer. The Utah state primary is scheduled for June 23, 2020, with a candidate filing deadline of March 19. Therefore, much time remains for this race to develop.
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