SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Many believe it wasn’t a matter of if, but when, and Tuesday, Lt. Governor Spencer Cox made it official.
He is running for governor in 2020.
He’s the first to jump into what could be a crowded race.
Cox says he’s ready to take the next step. They made the final decision a few weeks ago as a family.
“We have visited every end of this state, but what we loved was our sense of community that we could maybe see elsewhere, and we can see that sense of community around our state,” said his wife, Abby Cox.
The rural Utah Republican has made a name for himself as a politician who bucks the party-above-all mentality.
“I don’t need to be governor for the sake of being governor. If I can’t sleep at night, if I can’t be true to who we are, then somebody else can do it,” said Cox.
He says his focus will be to bring Utahns together to tackle the challenges of the future.
Explosive growth, education, transportation and transitioning to a new economy.
“The big one that nobody is talking about though is the way that the economy is changing so rapidly, and the disruption that is going to come, displacement that is going to come to workers when automation takes their jobs,” Cox said.
Polls show Cox as a front-runner, and getting in first turns up the pressure.
“He’s ahead of the polls, he has a great platform already, people have had a chance to know him as Lt. Governor, right now he’s in the number one spot,” said Jason Perry, director of Hinckley Institute of Politics.
Others are sure to jump in.
- Prospective candidates include:
- Former governor Jon Huntsman Jr.
- Former Speaker of the House Greg Hughes
- Former Utah GOP chair and businessman Thomas Wright
- Salt Lake County Council member Aimee Winder Newton
- Provo businessman Jeff Burningham
- Former representative Jason Chaffetz
Perry says it’s a formidable group.
“It means no one can call it, and no one can take this one for granted. It will be tough to the end.”
When he first took the job as second-in-command, Cox opted to keep the family in Fairview, which means a two-hour commute.
He says if he becomes governor, they’ll be in the capital city during the week and farming in Fairview on the weekends.