SALT LAKE CITY — Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox was endorsed Thursday in the governor’s race by Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller and a list of other business leaders.
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary leaders, which is why Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has earned our support to be the next governor of Utah,” some 50 entrepreneurs as well as CEOs of large companies in the state said in a letter that comes amid a heated four-way primary for the GOP nomination in the governor’s race.
Cox is on the June 30 primary ballot along with former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes and former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright. The winner of the election will face Democrat Chris Peterson in November, although Utah has not elected a Democratic governor in four decades.
Polls have long shown Cox and Huntsman leading in the race, but the lieutenant governor pulled ahead in the latest Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll, with 30% of respondents who say they definitely will vote in the primary backing the lieutenant governor compared to 23% for Huntsman.
Miller said in a statement that she trusts Cox to lead the state.
“Over the past decade, Spencer has helped lead Utah through one of the most successful periods in our history. He knows what it will take to rebuild our economy in the aftermath of this crisis — and has the ability to unite Utahns from every corner of this state. Spencer loves Utah. He is committed to Utah,” she said.
The letter signed by Miller as well as other business leaders, including Cotopaxi CEO Davis Smith, Cicero founder and chairman Randy Shumway and Utah Valley magazine President Jeannette Bennett, said Cox “values the central role Utah’s private industry plays in building our strong economy, thriving communities and healthy families.”
Cox, who heads the state’s COVID-19 task force, said he and his running mate, state Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, are committed “to ensure Utah emerges from this crisis more resilient, prosperous and stronger” and pledged as governor to work closely with the business community.