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Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox wins Utah governor race

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has won the race Utah governor, defeating Chris Peterson. (Cami Mondeaux)

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has won the election for Utah’s governor. Cox won with 62% of the votes against opponent Chris Peterson who garnered 33% of the vote.

Cox (R) won his primary nomination back in July by a close margin with 36.4% of the vote against Jon Huntsman. 

Peterson was nominated as the primary candidate at the state Democratic convention. He avoided a primary because he recieved 88.4% majority vote at the convention.

Cox — the current lieutenant governor under Gov. Gary Herbert — led his campaign with an emphasis on improving Utah’s education system. 

“Today, the lowest income school districts in Utah pay higher taxes while receiving less than half the funding per student as compared to the wealthiest school districts in the state,” according to Cox’s campaign website. “That disparity means fewer resources and less opportunity for children in low income areas. That needs to change.”

Peterson — a professor at the University of Utah — emphasized fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and restoring balance to Utah’s government.

“I think that we’ve had one-party control in our state for a long time, and that’s okay,” Peterson said in an interview with The Forum. “I mean the public should get the government that they want. But, that doesn’t mean that just because it was like that in the last election or the one before that we should continue down that same path.”

Peterson has routinely criticized the state government’s response to the pandemic, saying we need to do more.

“A lack of decisive action by politicians has left Utahns’ physical and economic safety in limbo and there is no concrete plan in sight to deal with the fallout,” according to Peterson’s campaign website.

Cox has been the head of the Utah coronavirus task force since the beginning of the pandemic in March. In September, Peterson said Cox should be replaced as the head of the task force and have the Department of Health and medical professionals lead the group, according to a press release from Peterson’s campaign.

In response, Cox’s campaign told The Salt Lake Tribune the lieutenant governor and Gov. Herbert are working with medical professionals and policymakers to protect people as well as the economy. 

The race for Utah’s governor was marked by civility and decency, a rare characteristic in this election cycle. The race even caught national attention when candidates Peterson and Cox appeared in an ad together saying they can debate and still not hate each other. The ad ended with the hashtag #StandUnited.

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Marina McTee is a senior communication major at Westminster College. She is specializing in journalism and content creation. She hopes to combine her passion for journalism with her passion for all things media and work for a media outlet such as SLUG Mag or Vice someday. She is dedicated to reporting news and creating media specialized for the internet world so it is accessible to all.

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