UTAH
     Nov. 3, 2020 Governor

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+Spencer J. Cox/Deidre M. Henderson (R)
918,754
63.86%
Chris Peterson/Karina Brown (D) 442,754
30.77%
Daniel Rhead Cottam/Barry Evan Short (L) 51,393
3.57%
Greg Duerden/Wayne Hill (IAP) 25,810  1.79%

1,438,711

Registration (active):  1,681,844.   
Margin of victory:  476,000 votes (33.09 percentage points).
 UT Elections



Notes:
Gov. Gary Herbert (R), who held the office since Aug. 2009, was retiring.  Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (R), running with Deidre Henderson, defeated law professor Chris Peterson (D), running with Karina Brown, by a wide margin as Republicans swept all statewide races.  Also running were surgeon Daniel Cottam (L) with Barry Short and businessman Greg Duerden (IAP) with Wayne Hill. 
 
Both major parties had competitive races for their nominations. 
Six candidates sought the Democratic nomination.  Law professor Chris Peterson, who previously worked for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Consumer Federation of America, announced his candidacy on Mar. 4, 2020.  He won overwhelming support of delegates at the virtual state party convention on April 25.  Peterson announced Karina Brown, an activist from Cache Co., as his running mate on April 20.

The virtual state Republican convention in April eliminated some GOP hopefuls, leaving four candidates on the June 30 Republican primary ballot


  • Spencer Cox, who served as lieutenant governor since Oct. 2013, hails from Fairview in Sanpete Co., two hours north of Salt Lake City.  Sixth generation member of a farming family, he served as a city councilor, mayor and county commissioner, and helped manage CentraCom, the family run telecommunications company that dates to 1903.  Cox was first to announce his candidacy on May 14, 2019. In his primary campaign he traveled around the state visiting all 248 cities and towns in a green RV.  Cox tabbed Sen. Deidre Henderson as his running mate on Mar. 19, 2020.
  • Former Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. who served as governor from Jan. 2005-Aug. 2009, then served as ambassador to China, and ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2011-12, entered the race on Nov. 14, 2019.  He announced Provo mayor Michelle Kaufusi as his running mate on Feb. 7.
  • Thomas Wright, a real estate broker and former chairman of the Utah Republican Party, announced on Jan. 2, 2020; he named retiring Congressman Rob Bishop as his running mate on Jan. 16.
  • Former House Speaker Gregory Hughes launched his campaign on Jan. 8, 2020; he announced Washington Co. Commisioner Victor Iverson as his running mate on Apr. 14.
In the primary Cox garnered 36.15%, Huntsman 34.95%, Hughes 21.02% and Wright, 7.88%. 

In the Fall, the two major party candidates engaged in two in-person, socially distanced debates.  As part of their annual convention, the Utah League of Cities and Towns hosted a debate on Sept. 25 moderated by Deseret News editor Doug Wilks (>).  There was a small  audience in the venue. 
The Utah Debate Commission event on Sept. 29 was moderated by KSL's Doug Wright in KSL studios and had no in-studio audience (>).  

The general election race was not competitive.  The last Democratic governor of Utah was Scott Matheson, who served two terms until Jan. 1985 (elected in 1976 and 1980).  Peterson was a solid candidate but not well known and with scant resources; his campaign reported total contributions of $172,418 according to the National Institute on Money and Politics.  On Oct. 20 Cox and Peterson drew national attention for releasing several joint #StandUnited public service announcements calling for civility.  On Oct. 26 Peterson announced, "Because of surging coronavirus numbers, we have made the responsible decision to suspend all in-person campaign events through Election Day."  His campaign continued with virtual events.
 
Both sides could claim a measure of success.  While Peterson tallied the most votes of any Democratic nominee in state history, Cox won with the highest margin of any new governor in state history.

 
Campaign Managers
:
Spencer Cox: Austin Cox

Worked in the Herbert administration.  Campaign manager for Our Schools Now, a Nov. 2018 ballot proposal to raise gas taxes to help fund Utah public schools, 2017-18.  Worked on Gov. Herbert's 2016 re-election campaign.  Managed a successful campaign for Salt Lake City Council at age 19.  Bachelor's degree in political science and campaign management from University of Utah, 2014.

Chris Peterson: 



Cox: missing



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