Earlier in the week, retiring Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Brigham City) said he would not run for Governor and endorsed former Utah Republican Party chairman Thomas Wright to become the party nominee. Now, Mr. Wright has recruited Rep. Bishop to be his running mate for Lt. Governor. In Utah, gubernatorial candidates choose their Lt. Governor partner before the party primary.
The Moore-Bishop ticket will face Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, former Governor and US Ambassador Jon Huntsman, ex-state House Speaker Greg Hughes, Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton, and businessman Jeff Burningham in the Republican primary scheduled for June 23rd. The Republicans will first move through the nominating convention, which is scheduled for April 25th. A candidate can be nominated outright with a 60% share of the delegate vote. Otherwise, the top two finishers will advance to the primary election.
The open Utah Governor’s race became more crowded over the weekend. Former state House Speaker Greg Hughes joined the Republican field and will compete against Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who outgoing Gov. Gary Herbert (R) has already endorsed, ex-Gov. Jon Huntsman, businessman Jeff Burningham, and Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton. Early polling gives Lt. Gov. Cox a definitive lead over Mr. Huntsman. The battle to succeed Gov. Herbert will be decided in the Republican primary as the Democrats don’t appear competitive in the general election.
A new Republican gubernatorial poll has been released, the first since former Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) left his position as US Ambassador to Russia and entered the 2020 campaign to re-claim his past position. The polling results indicate he has some work ahead of him.
According to the Utah Policy organization poll (11/19-12/7; 911 UT likely Republican primary voters), Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, armed with an endorsement from retiring Gov. Gary Herbert (R), leads with 41% followed by Mr. Huntsman who has 29% support. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Brigham City), who is not an announced gubernatorial candidate, polls 9%.
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.
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