Meet Utah’s Gubernatorial Republican Candidates

Utah is holding the Gubernatorial primary election on June 30, replacing Gov. Gary Herbert after 10 years in office. Those registered and eligible to vote will elect a Republican candidate to run against the Democratic nominee, Chris Peterson on Nov. 3. 

For those unsure of or wishing to learn more about where each candidate stands on major issues, here is a simple outline according to a questionnaire given by The Salt Lake Tribune.


Each candidate believes and agrees that something must be done in regards to high depression and suicide rates in Utah. 

When addressing that, Cox wants to continue with the use of the Governor’s Suicide Prevention Task Force and the SafeUT app. Huntsman plans on turning to medical health professionals, rather than politicians. Hughes and Wright both want to have more conversations about mental health, as well as train more medical professionals. 

All candidates are “pro-life” and support Utah’s 18-week abortion ban. The candidates also all do not support the legalization of recreational marijuana use, although each believes in the positive impacts of marijuana used for medicinal purposes.


The Equal Rights Amendment has yet to be ratified in Utah, which Cox, Wright and Hughes support. The three candidates quote Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in saying Utah has missed the opportunity for ratification, and the backers of the ERA should start over in Congress. Huntsman’s position is unclear. 

Both Huntsman and Cox believe in seeking out diversity amongst minorities and women to fill positions of authority. Cox, especially, wants Utah to become the “leading ‘flex-state’” to encourage women and minorities into leadership roles. 

Hughes, on the other hand, states “Diversity for diversity’s sake alone divides people, it doesn’t unite.” 

Each candidate also supports a state-wide employee salary survey to acknowledge wage-gaps.

Environment and Public Health

Cox, Wright and Huntsman believe in human-caused climate change. Although Hughes does not, he does believe in using Tier 3 fuel to reduce emissions, along with Cox and Huntsman. 

Overall, each candidate believes in increasing mass transit systems, rather than individual transportation. 

Both Cox and Hughes believe in the continuation of spending millions of taxpayer dollars on coal export infrastructure. Both state the coal is cleaner in Utah than in other countries worldwide, and that its export will benefit the economy. Wright’s position is unclear, however, he emphasizes the importance of Utah’s economy. 

Huntsman agrees coal export is a “reasonable investment,” however he also states that the environmental impacts are becoming more pressing. He believes it is time to discuss new ways of creating an economical and environmental transition in Utah. 

For more information about the candidates and other positions they hold, read the full Salt Lake Tribune article here.


Story by: Amanda Walton
Photo Courtesy of Deseret News