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Spencer Cox Wins Republican Primary In Governor’s Race

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox address a roundtable of local businesses regarding the coronavirus on March 10, 2020.

(AP) – Spencer Cox won the Republican nomination for Utah governor on Monday, as the lieutenant governor successfully staved off a comeback attempt by former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr.

Cox’s primary win gives him a heavy advantage in the conservative state’s general election in November.

The four-way race came down to Huntsman and Cox, who clinched a narrow win after days of vote counting. Huntsman is a well-known former governor, ex-ambassador to Russia and a one-time presidential candidate. Cox has been a rare conservative critic of President Donald Trump, though he now supports him.

Cox started his gubernatorial campaign sooner and his visibility was boosted by his leadership role in responding to the state’s coronavirus pandemic. He was also endorsed by incumbent Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, who isn’t running again.

The race was conducted entirely by mail due to the pandemic. The crisis shaped the campaign, which included Huntsman testing positive for the disease.

The new GOP nominee will run against Democratic law professor Chris Peterson in November.

Cox’s campaign released the following statement Monday:

“Sen. Henderson and I are humbled by the vote of confidence from the people of Utah in selecting us as the Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor. As farm kids from Sanpete County, Abby and I never dreamed of having this opportunity. If elected in November, we will take our rural values of hard work, honesty and responsibility to the Governor’s office each day.

“The next four years will be critically important to Utah’s future. We must rebuild our economy, restore the joy of teaching for our educators, and bring new opportunities for smart growth to both the Wasatch Front and rural Utah.

“Most importantly, we believe the results of this election prove that negative campaigns do not work in Utah. We feel blessed to live in the greatest state in America and invite all Utahns to join us in ensuring it always remains that way.”

KSL TV contributed to this report.

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