The three faces of Utah –
There’s nothing like a 4-way primary to educate those interested in the mood of the state. Utah is no exception when it comes to the most recent Republican Governor’s Race – Election 2020.
Having been involved in politics many moons ago, I love to watch the sociological aspects of the races and what that might mean. If we look at the individual candidates for a moment it starts to paint the map shown below.
1st, we have Thomas Wright.
He owns his own company in Utah, has a good sense of humor and tried to portray himself as the non-politician. Dragging with him retired Congressman Bishop may or may not have helped him, but he did garner 40,000+ votes out of the currently counted votes or 07.9%. He did not win any county.
2nd, we have Greg Hughes.
Greg is the past Speaker of the Utah House, and seasoned politician. You can see Gregs campaign page to see his other many attributes and skeletons, but he was definitely the spoiler in the race. Greg won 9 of the 30 counties with 106,752 votes or 21%. Greg found his support among the disenfranchised voters of the outer lands of the state. And his running mate was a county commissioner from one of those states. More extreme, more anti-government and less represented in the state discussions. These voters will be a challenge for the candidate in the general election as they may just stay home.
3rd, is the candidate that the New York Times was “shocked” to see might lose the primary race. Obviously, they had been listening to the power players and not the people in the state (but that’s true of most NY media who really don’t know Utah via Salt Lake).
Past Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. only managed to win 5 counties in Utah. Yes, he targeted the more liberal counties and the three biggest – Davis, Salt Lake, and Weber counties – but it wasn’t enough to deliver success. The winning candidate managed to receive 33% of Davis county, 33% of Salt Lake county, and 30% of Weber County. That was too much. Jon received 175,253 votes, or 34.6%.
A number I don’t have at this time, but will probably see before long, is the number of Democrats statewide that re-registered as a Republican in order to vote for Huntsman. A prominent Democrat led that drive, privately and publicly.
In addition, Jon was endorsed by a number of large company owners that encouraged their employees to vote for Jon, but that wasn’t enough either.
That takes us to our 4th candidate and winner, Spencer Cox.
Lt. Gov. Cox started running for office over a year ago when he began by visiting every county and most major cities statewide. His knowledge of state issues and his centrist conservative values got him endorsed by retiring Governor Herbert, and Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller.
He received the nod from 15 of the 30 counties, 184,562 votes or 6.4% .
My take away?
The winning candidate will need to have a conversation with the voters of the left and the right of both parties and determine what common ground exists as he moves forward.
It will be fun to watch and see what the final numbers are and compare them to this map. Election 2020 is not over.
Don’t forget – #JournalWritingMatters