AP: Spencer Cox wins race for Utah governor

Nov 3, 2020, 8:08 PM | Updated: Nov 4, 2020, 6:30 am
fact check governor debate...
Utah gubernatorial candidates Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, left, and Democrat Chris Peterson, right, are pictured in handout photos from the Utah Debate Commission on Sept. 25, 2020.

Lt. Gov Spencer Cox has the lead over Democrat challenger Chris Peterson in the race for Utah governor, preliminary results show. Updated polling numbers show Cox leading with 63.16% and Peterson trailing at 32.41% as of 9:30 p.m. 

AP called the gubernatorial race at 8 p.m. with Cox as the winner. 


Peterson conceded from the race hours later at 10:30 p.m., calling his gubernatorial campaign “an honor.”

“I’m proud that we ran an ethical race focused on policy issues,” Peterson said in a statement. “This campaign was about building a new beginning for the Democratic Party in Utah. My name was on the ballot, but this was never about me. It was about fighting to make a positive difference in the daily lives of working people.”

Utah chooses a new governor

The governor’s race is one of the most high-profile races in Utah this year because it guarantees a new state leader, after Gov. Gary Herbert announced in 2019 he would not be running for re-election. It’s the first time an incumbent isn’t running for the seat in over a decade. 

Cox has held a strong lead over Peterson in the weeks leading up to the election, with a Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll in late October showing roughly half of voters throwing their support behind the lieutenant governor. 

The same poll showed about 25% of voters supporting Peterson and another 16% were unsure. 

Tense at times, but candidates run an amicable race

Despite disagreements on the state’s coronavirus response and public education, the two candidates have maintained a mostly amicable race. 

In fact, Cox and Peterson ran a set of joint campaign ads in October to urge Utah voters to remain civil regardless of the election outcome. The ads were in direct response to comments from President Donald Trump who didn’t clarify whether he would accept the final tally after Nov. 3. 


“We can debate issues without degrading each other’s character,” Peterson said. 

“We can disagree without hating each other,” Cox added.

However, the two differ on several campaign issues — namely the coronavirus pandemic. 

Peterson released a statement in September calling on Cox to step down from his position as the head of the Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force — calling it a usurpation of the health department by local government. 

The Democratic candidate also called on the lieutenant governor to enforce a face mask mandate across the state, arguing the state response was “hijacked by unproven and ineffective treatments.” 


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories


donald trump...
Kate Sullivan, Gabby Orr and Kristen Holmes, CNN

Trump says he’s ‘more angry’ and ‘more committed’ to White House bid as he breaks his campaign trail hiatus

Former President Donald Trump said he's "more committed" to winning back the White House as he hit the campaign trail after announcing a third presidential bid.
4 days ago
Sen. Karen Mayne...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Dems to hold special election filling the seat of Sen. Karen Mayne

Utah Democratic will hold a virtual special election at 6 p.m. on Jan. 15, to fill the seat of Sen. Karen Mayne as she steps down due to health issues.
20 days ago
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 05: U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) cheers in the House...
Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Annie Grayer, Melanie Zanona and Lauren Fox, CNN

House to hold 12th vote in longest speaker contest in 164 years

Originally Published: 06 JAN 23 05:07 ET Updated: 06 JAN 23 12:57 ET By Clare Foran, Manu Raju, Annie Grayer, Melanie Zanona and Lauren Fox, CNN     (CNN) — Kevin McCarthy is locked in a fight for his political future as the California Republican attempts to win the votes he needs to become speaker of the […]
27 days ago
Utah Congressman Blake Moore feels everyone has a different dog in the fight. Meaning, some politic...
Elizabeth Weiler

Voting for house speaker, Utah representative weighs in

Utah Congressman Blake Moore feels everyone has a different dog in the fight. Meaning, some politicians won't change their minds about McCarthy for personal reasons.
27 days ago
John Curtis...
Mark Jones

Rep. Curtis says Rep. McCarthy has experience to lead as House Speaker

Utah Rep. John Curtis says Rep. Kevin McCarthy has the experience to be House Speaker. This comes after McCarthy has failed to be elected after six rounds of voting.
29 days ago
Arizona judge orders Republican Kari Lake, pictured here, in Phoenix on December 18 to pay fees for...
Stephanie Becker, CNN

Arizona judge orders Kari Lake to compensate Katie Hobbs for some fees for election lawsuit, but declines to sanction her

An Arizona judge ordered Republican Kari Lake to reimburse Democratic Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs for legal fees stemming from Lake's challenge of the outcome in the state's race for governor.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
AP: Spencer Cox wins race for Utah governor