Local expert says Jon Huntsman Jr. ‘changes everything’ in the race for governor

Local Politics

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC4 News) – The 2020 race for governor is heating up.

ABC4 News has been reporting that Jon Huntsman Jr. is gearing up for another run, and Thursday he made it official.

Jason Perry, the director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics says this changes everything about the race.

“It just changes the landscape overnight. When you want to run for office you start looking for your path to victory. Where can I find it? It’s a lot less clear for a lot more of the other candidates today,” said Perry.

He says Huntsman is getting into the race because he really enjoyed being the governor before, and he wants to follow up on some of the initiatives he started.

He says Huntsman already has the crucial elements going for him.

“I think he does become a front-runner almost immediately. You look at what he has and what you need to run for office: you need name ID, which he has, you need money, which he has, a platform, which he already has.”

Perry says he’ll need that to reconnect with Utah voters after being away for 10 years.

He’s also up against a crowded field.

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Utah County businessman Jeff Burningham and Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton have also declared.

Perry says former Utah GOP chair Thomas Wright, former Speaker of the House Greg Hughes and Spencer Eccles Jr. are also testing the waters.

“This is really amazing to see this caliber of candidates coming into this race.”

Perry says plurality is the key factor to watch as this race plays out.

“We have several candidates that really appeal to the moderate section of the Republican Party, also to those independents and even a few of those Democrats. But, we have a lot of those, and if they just eat each other’s votes it really leaves an opportunity for someone that can appeal to the farther right end of the spectrum,” said Perry.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...