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Gov. Spencer Cox Holds Off Challenger From Right in Utah’s G.O.P. Primary

Gov. Spencer Cox Holds Off Challenger From Right in Utah’s G.O.P. Primary

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Gov. Spencer Cox of Utah fended off a challenge from the right in his primary on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, defeating State Representative Phil Lyman, who had the endorsement of the state Republican Party.

Mr. Cox, a relative moderate, faced opposition from Mr. Lyman and G.O.P. colleagues who considered him not conservative enough. Mr. Cox has been openly critical of former President Donald J. Trump, and has not endorsed him as he runs for president for a third time.

At the state G.O.P. convention in Salt Lake City in the spring, Mr. Cox, who is in his first four-year term after having served as lieutenant governor, failed to secure the party’s endorsement for his re-election bid. At the event, the crowd booed Mr. Cox, who was forced to be on the defensive about his Republican credentials.

Despite party frictions, Mr. Cox was widely popular among Utahns in his first term, and his nomination makes a second term all the more likely. Republicans have controlled the Utah governorship since 1985.

Mr. Cox will face the Democrats’ nominee, State Representative Brian King, a former minority leader of the State House, in the November election.

Mr. Lyman, a former county commissioner, is known for an illegal ATV ride that he staged in 2014 to protest a federal decision banning motor vehicle use in a local canyon. Mr. Lyman and his supporters viewed the protest as an act of civil disobedience, and Mr. Trump pardoned him in 2020.

Though Mr. Trump did not weigh in on the governor’s race, Mr. Lyman emphasized his support for the former president throughout his campaign.



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