Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox wins Utah governor’s race

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By Martha Harris and Kenzie Holbrook

Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox claimed victory in the Utah governor’s race. (Lexie Flickenger)

Incumbent Lieutenant Governor and Republican Spencer Cox won the 2020 race for Utah governor, replacing Gov. Gary Herbert and defeating Democrat Chris Peterson. 

The Associated Press called the race early Tuesday night soon after the polls closed. With 68% of votes reported, Cox won 62.4% of votes and Peterson trailed with 31.6% of votes. 

“I want to thank my family, staff, volunteers, and all of my supporters from the bottom of my heart,” Peterson said in his official statement. “Traveling around this state, hearing Utahns’ stories, and standing up for working families during this campaign has been an honor.”

Cox is Utah’s first new governor in over a decade, succeeding Herbert who first took office in 2009 and decided not to run for a third term. 

Cox said to reporters Tuesday night that he was feeling equal parts excitement, gratitude and a hefty responsibility. Cox spoke virtually to his supporters and reporters from a dance hall in his hometown of Fairview.

“It’s obviously an emotional night, something I never even dreamed was possible,” Cox said. “They don’t let kids from Sanpete County do things like this.” 

In his speech to his supporters, Cox spoke about the importance of unity, echoing a call for political civility that he made with Petersen in a series of political ads. 

“Fellow Utahns, I promise you I’m not the governor of the Republican Party. I’m the governor of the state of Utah. And that means all of us,” Cox said. 

Cox told reporters that he had just gotten off the phone with Peterson and that they had a wonderful conversation.

“Again, I just want to point out how impressed I was with Chris and the campaign that he ran. And I’m grateful for the friendship that we’ve been able to find over the past several weeks.”

In Peterson’s statement he thanked his opponent Spencer Cox. “I wish him the very best in leading our state towards a brighter future,” Peterson said.

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