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Ballots Are Arriving. Who Are Utahns Thinking About Voting For In The Race For Governor?

GOP, Republican party primary candidates
Kat Webb
GOP gubernatorial candidate Thomas Wright, his Lt. Gov. candidate Rob Bishop meet with Cache County Republican Party Chair Chris Booth and other voters on June 1, 2020 meet and greet at Merlin Olsen Central Park in Logan.

Utahns have started receiving their ballots for the June 30 primary, but who the frontrunners will be in the Republican race for governor may not match the polls.

“I think it's gonna be a tight race. It's gonna be interesting to see…you know, who wakes up the nominee for the Republican Party,” said Chris Booth, the chair of the Cache County Republican Party.

The most recent poll shows former-governor Jon Huntsman Jr. and current Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox lead the race, at about 30% and 32%, respectively, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. At recent events held by the candidates, voters had varying opinions on who the true frontrunner is. 

Jennifer Henson, a Republican delegate in Cache Valley, wants an accessible candidate — which, so far, she hasn’t found in Huntsman or Cox.

“So, I can't vote for somebody who's not willing to talk to me,” she said.

That leaves Greg Hughes, polling at 14%, or Thomas Wright, 8%, as the only options for voters like Henson.

Robert Schmidt, of Logan, is a registered Democrat, so he won’t be voting in the June 30 Republican primary. But he said his top two choices are Huntsman and Cox.

“Well, we live in troubling times," Schmidt said. "And it would be nice to have somebody with experience, measured competency, somebody who has a history of listening to people. I think we've got a couple choices in that regard.”

Though Cox is currently leading the polls, Schmidt said he's voted for Huntsman in the past and likes that he has experience governing the state and as an ambassador.

The same poll shows about 17% of respondents were undecided. Though the general election is months away, Booth says in a red state like Utah, the winner of the Republican primary tends to be the one elected in November.