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Spencer Cox first gubernatorial candidate to turn in voter signatures for spot on primary ballot

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, joined by his wife, Abby, talks about their decision for him to run for governor in 2020 from a shared office space in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, joined by his wife, Abby, talks about their decision for him to run for governor in 2020 from a shared office space in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox became the first candidate for governor Monday to turn in the 28,000 voter signatures needed to secure a place on Utah’s Republican primary ballot in June.

Cox is one of six Republicans in the race to succeed Gov. Gary Herbert, who isn’t seeking reelection. The others are former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton, former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright, businessman Jeff Burningham and former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes.

All of the Republican candidates except Hughes have filed with the state to gather voter signatures, an optional path to the ballot that can be combined with competing to be nominated by delegates at the party’s state convention in April. Signatures are due two weeks before the convention.

Cox’s wife, Abby Cox, submitted more than 29,000 voter signatures to the lieutenant governor’s office, which oversees state elections. Former Utah Lt. Gov. Gayle McKeachnie has been named to deal with any concerns involving Cox’s campaign.

Rather than hiring a professional company, the Cox campaign said more than 500 volunteers ranging in age from 18 to 92 years old, along with some paid college students, collected nearly 1,400 more voter signatures than required in 40 days.

That was a “remarkable achievement,” Abby Cox said. “We don’t have the same resources as other candidates, but we have always said no one will work harder than us. The reaction to our uniquely grassroots campaign is highly encouraging as we continue to campaign across all 248 Utah cities and towns.”

Cox is also planning to compete at the GOP state convention in April. All six Republicans could potentially end up on the June primary ballot, if Hughes and possibly another candidate are advanced by delegates at the convention and the others all gather enough voter signatures to qualify.

“I look forward to articulating my vision for Utah’s future during a respectful and vigorous primary campaign with whomever qualifies for the ballot,” Cox said in a statement. “Abby and I are all in for Utah.”