Late last week it was reported that former Governor and US Ambassador Jon Huntsman was having difficulty in qualifying for the Utah gubernatorial ballot through the signature process because almost half of his gathered petition names were ruled invalid. Now, a new Dan Jones & Associates poll for the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce (reported as “mid-March”; 798 UT registered voters; 338 likely UT Republican primary voters) brings him further bad news.
According to the poll results, while Mr. Huntsman leads among all voters, he now trails Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, 30-27%, with former state House Speaker Greg Hughes at 12% among likely Republican primary participants. Other minor candidates are all below 10 percent. The Utah primary is scheduled for June 23rd. Gov. Gary Herbert (R) is retiring. The eventual Republican nominee will become the prohibitive favorite in the open general election.
Late last week it was reported that former Governor and US Ambassador Jon Huntsman, running this year for his former position, will have difficulty qualifying for the ballot through the signature process. According to news accounts, more than half of Mr. Huntsman’s petition signatures have been ruled as invalid. This means he must obtain more than 11,000 new and legitimate signatures before April 10th.
The other way to qualify for the primary ballot is through the Utah state Republican Convention’s nominating process. The delegates can award nomination if a candidate for office reaches a minimum 60% floor vote. If no one receives 60%, the top two qualify for the primary election. Any candidate who does not meet the signature process requirements and fails to obtain at least 40% of the convention vote is eliminated for further competition.
The Utah candidate filing deadline occurred late Thursday, and the Lt. Governor’s office has published a list of qualifying candidates for federal and state offices.
Utah has one open seat, that of retiring Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Brigham City) who is leaving the 1st Congressional District to join the gubernatorial ticket of former Utah Republican Party chairman Thomas Wright, and a major challenge race for the general election.
In the open 1st, one dozen Republicans have qualified for the state Republican convention where the delegates hope to narrow the field to two candidates. One former statewide official is included in the mix, ex-Agriculture Commissioner Kerry Gibson, and several local elected politicians will vie for the seat. Two Democrats will be on the primary ballot, but the race will be decided in the June 23rd Republican primary.
In the 4th District, seven Republicans are lining up to attempt to unseat freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City). State Rep. Kim Coleman (R-West Jordan), radio talk show host Jay Mcfarland, former NFL football player Burgess Owens, and banker Trent Christensen are among those who filed.
A total of 17 candidates have qualified to go to the respective political party conventions in the Utah open Governor’s race, eight Republicans, six Democrats, and three Independent or minor party contenders. The biggest names in the race are former Governor and US Ambassador Jon Huntsman and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox on the Republican side. Presumably the state Republican nominating convention will send the two of them to the June 23rd primary.
Among the six Democrats are former state Rep. Neil Hansen and law professor Chris Peterson. The eventual Republican nominee becomes the prohibitive favorite to succeed retiring three-term Gov. Gary Herbert (R).
A new Deseret News/University of Utah gubernatorial survey was released yesterday (2/24-3/1; 312 UT likely Republican primary voters), and for the second time in a major statewide poll former Governor and US Ambassador Jon Huntsman has the lead in the Republican primary. According to this study, Mr. Huntsman commands 32% of the GOP vote with Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox posting 20%. Following are state House Speaker Greg Hughes and businessman John Burningham, both with 7% preference. Minor candidates are bringing up the rear.
Originally, it appeared Lt. Gov. Cox, who has much support from Utah Republican establishment figures such as retiring Gov. Gary Herbert (R), was jumping out to an advantage, but, as the field settles, former Gov. Huntsman appears to be taking command.
The Hinckley Poll, commissioned for the Deseret News (1/15-22; 1,017 UT Republican primary voters; online), projects former Governor and US Ambassador Jon Huntsman taking the lead over Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) despite outgoing Gov. Gary Herbert’s (R) endorsement and support from much of the Republican establishment. According to the HP, Mr. Huntsman now has a 33-25-5% edge over Mr. Cox and businessman Jeff Burningham. This is shaping up to be a competitive primary to be decided on June 23rd.
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.
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