POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Gov. Cox doesn’t think Trump can win in 2024, approves Utah GOP opting out of presidential primary

Aug 17, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: Aug 29, 2023, 4:08 pm

Image of Utah Gov. Spencer Cox at his monthly press briefing in Salt Lake City. Among the topics Co...

Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during the PBS Utah Governor's Monthly News Conference at the Eccles Broadcast Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox said he wants a Republican in the White House next year, but believes former President Donald Trump can’t win as the Republican nominee. He also said that he approves the Utah GOP pulling out of the presidential primary next year.

Cox’s comments came as he made the media rounds Thursday, holding his monthly news conference on PBS Utah and Let Me Speak to the Governor on KSL NewsRadio. 

Former President Trump is facing 91 charges against him in four different indictments. The most recent indictment was issued this week in Georgia. It involves the former president’s alleged plot to overturn the 2020 election in that state.  

“I would like the next president in the 2024 election to be a Republican,” Cox told reporters “And I don’t think that Donald Trump can win the presidency as the Republican nominee.”

Cox said that he was “troubled,” by the support for the former president, given all his legal troubles.

“He’s certainly entitled to run, he also happens to be the frontrunner … that does trouble me for sure,” Cox said. “Less so that he’s deciding to run and more so at the support that he’s getting.”

Cox said he believes that, and low approval ratings are the reasons Trump couldn’t beat out Democrats next year.

“I think we have some incredible candidates … and I hate the system by which we nominate candidates. I hate that Iowa and New Hampshire kind of get to decide for the rest of us,” he said.

Cox OKs Utah GOP move to forgo presidential primary

That was the same sentiment used to explain his approval of Utah Republicans opting out of the 2024 Presidential primary in lieu of voting in a presidential preference poll at caucus night on March 5, 2024.

Cox said he didn’t believe requiring Utah GOP members to vote in their caucuses would have a big impact on turnout. Voting in person at the caucus would replace primary ballots.

“Sadly, lots of people choose not to participate in the [presidential] primary anyway so I don’t know that there will be a large difference in the participation levels there,” he said on KSL NewsRadio’s monthly call-in show Let Me Speak to the Governor. 

Cox doesn’t approve of a process where early-voting states get to whittle down the field of candidates who drop out before Utah gets a chance to vote.

“I hope it matters,” he said about Utah’s presidential vote. “Usually we don’t matter … we’ve tried to move up a little bit to get to that March time frame so that hopefully Utah has a voice in it,” he said.

Cox, later clarified to KSL NewsRadio that he wasn’t saying Utahns’ votes don’t matter.

“Yes in the general [election] Utah’s votes count, they absolutely count,” he said. “But in the primary system when Iowa goes first and New Hampshire goes next… suddenly half the people have dropped out before we even get a chance to weigh in. And that to me is very frustrating.”

Cox acknowledged that security was a concern in the Utah GOP move to forgo county-run public elections.

“There’s no doubt that a caucus-type system does not lend itself to more security than we have at the state level,” he said.

The governor was asked how he reconciles his party calling for more election security but choosing a voting option for the caucuses with fewer safety measures.

“We care about election security, we will always work towards election security, and I certainly hope the party will as well,” he said.

Other reading:

We want to hear from you.

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

Politics + Government

FILE: Sen. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, and Rep. Jordan Teuscher, R-South Jordan, speak about their...

Aimee Cobabe

Bill allowing parents to sue social media companies moves closer to becoming law

HB464 gives Utah parents the power to sue a social media company if their child develops mental health issues after using the apps

1 hour ago

FILE: An Angel bike given to the family of Eli Mitchell in April, 2023. Mitchell was hit and killed...

Britt Johnson

Families of drunk driving victims fight possible new Utah liquor license legislation

The bill sponsored by Rep. Jefferson Burton would increase the number of liquor licenses issued by the state of Utah.

2 hours ago

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Logan, was transported in an ambulance after an apparent medical issue in the H...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko

Utah representative transported in ambulance after apparent medical issue on House floor

Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Logan, was seated at his desk shortly after lawmakers convened for an afternoon session at 2 p.m. when the incident occurred.

4 hours ago

utah lake shown, a bill tackling a failed lake project has advanced...

Adam Small

A bill to undo law regarding controversial, failed Utah Lake project advances to the full House

The law that would be repealed through this bill is the same law that created the Utah Lake Restoration Act.

5 hours ago

Former president Donald Trump, Manhattan trial...

MICHAEL R. SISAK

With trial starting next month, Manhattan DA asks judge for a gag order in Trump’s hush-money case

The Manhattan DA's office asked that Trump be barred from making or directing others to make public statements about people involved in the case.

7 hours ago

FILE: The Utah attorney general’s office at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 27, 202...

ANNIE KNOX AND DANIELLA RIVERA

5 things to know about KSL’s legal fight for transparency

KSL and the Utah Attorney General’s Office are squaring off in a legal fight over access to Attorney General Sean Reyes’ work calendar.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Gov. Cox doesn’t think Trump can win in 2024, approves Utah GOP opting out of presidential primary