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GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Role Of Lt. Gov. On Task Force

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Candidates at the Utah GOP Gubernatorial Primary debate made it very clear how they feel about Lt. Governor Spencer Cox’s daily role on the coronavirus task force while he’s also running for governor.

“For 3 months, we’ve been locked in our homes, where the only people able to campaign and politicize have been in the governor’s office, using the platform – using it as a ‘Bully Pulpit,’” said former Gov. Jon Huntsman

Huntsman, former House Speaker Greg Hughes and former Chairman of the Utah Republican Party Thomas Wright all criticized the lieutenant governor for politicizing the pandemic in our state.

KSL thought we’d try to grasp at the imbalance alleged by the candidates.

Utah’s coronavirus task force was announced March 2, with Gov. Gary Herbert placing Cox in charge.

Then on March 13, Cox and the Utah Department of Health began daily briefings. Those lasted through May 1, and went bi-weekly through the end of the month.

That’s approximately 43 opportunities broadcast statewide that the other three candidates didn’t have.

Cox did not participate in every briefing, but did have an active role, even by title.

“In hindsight we understand. It’s easy to make those decisions. In the moment, it’s incredibly difficult and those decisions were being made and influenced at every level by experts here in the state of Utah,” Cox said.

The latest Deseret News/Hinckley Institute poll shows Cox leading in the Republican gubernatorial primary, followed by Huntsman, Hughes, and Wright.

Of the nearly 500 polled, 24 percent said they were not sure who has their vote.

KSL 5 TV Live

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