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Monday, July 6, 2020

Primary elections in Utah: The candidates, ballot counts and election results

So far, voter turnout in Utah may be surpassing raw numbers from 2016 and 2018, according to Justin Lee,director of elections in the Utah Lt. Governor’s Office. Primary Election team coverage by 2News (KUTV) Lee said it is too early to tell what actual turnout is but a statewide release of votes is expected at 10 p. m. He said in social media posts: In the 2016 Governor Primary, there were 246,529 votes cast, 38. 9% of registered Republicans. About 25% overall turnout.
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So far, voter turnout in Utah may be surpassing raw numbers from 2016 and 2018, according to Justin Lee, director of elections in the Utah Lt. Governor’s Office.

Lee said it is too early to tell what actual turnout is but a statewide release of votes is expected at 10 p.m. He said in social media posts:

In the 2016 Governor Primary, there were 246,529 votes cast, 38.9% of registered Republicans. About 25% overall turnout. In the 2018 US Senate Primary, there were 366,792 votes cast, 52.4% of registered Republicans. About 29% overall turnout We will need around 413k votes in the R guv Race and around 440,000 total votes to pass 2018 percentages.

He also said there may be an additional release of numbers following county reports of ballot processing Tuesday night.

(Click here for released results.)

PRELIMINARY RESULTS for GOP Governor’s Race and GOP AG Race:

Every day at 3 p.m. there will be a new release of votes leading up to a final tally. Some counties will keep counting votes until 5 p.m. each day so updates may also be released with those tallies. The counties have three weeks to count all the ballots but Lee does not foresee it taking that long.

RELATED: Primary election results will be released later than normal. Here’s why

He added that by state law, all ballots may be postmarked on election day and advised voters take their ballots to the post office and ask for the ballot to be postmarked or put the ballot in a drop-off location provided by their county.

As of 3 p.m., Lee said there were no issues to report. He said limited in-person voting in certain counties allowing it had gone “very smoothly,” also estimating up to 5,000 statewide votes at drive-up locations.

Voters can check the status of their ballot on the state website. Keep in mind, counties may also “quarantine mail-in ballots.” for at least 24 hours so ballots turned in at the last minute may not be counted for a few days.

Voters will decide nominees in the Republican governor and attorney general’s races as well as candidates for several congressional, state, and county elections this fall.


A few races to watch are for governor and a couple of House seats. The GOP primary for Utah governor is too close to call a clear victor between Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and former Gov. Jon Huntsman, state House Speaker Greg Hughes, and former GOP Party Chairman Thomas Wright.

A poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates reported that Huntsman had 35% of likely GOP primary voter support, just head of Cox, who had 31%. Hughes had 10%, and Wright got 5%, according to the poll. KUTV 2News did not commission or participate in that poll and could not verify its results or findings.

However, a poll conducted in partnership between KUTV 2News and UtahPolicy.com reported Cox in the lead with 34% support among likely Republican voters. Huntsman was a close second with 30%, while Hughes had 26% support and Wright had 10%.

2News just spoke with Hughes about the governor’s race. He said he’s come from behind to be in a “statistical dead heat” with Cox and Huntsman and the victor will depend on who turns out to vote.

“It’s been crazy, it’s been surreal, and it’s been inspiring,” Hughes said.

Hughes is currently at his Draper campaign headquarters. He plans to meet with supporters this evening at a home in Centerville. He told his supporters late Tuesday that the campaign was “scrappy,” moving up in the polls but ultimately “outgunned.”

“We’ll keep watching,” he told 2News in an interview, “but (the results were) not what we were expecting, no.”

Will he run for public office again?

“It’s a little early for that,” Hughes responded. “I don’t know what will be planned, but I’ll tell you what, it’s been an honor to run. I’ve loved public policy and I’ll tell you what — the people that I’ve met around this state. It’s an incredible state, and so I will always be involved, I’m not going anywhere.”


Thomas Wright with 2News Reporter Jeremy Harris

Greg Hughes with 2News Reporter Michael Locklear

Jon Huntsman with 2News Reporter Cristina Flores

Spencer Cox with 2News Reporter Brian Mullahy


A crowded Republican race to replace outgoing Rep. Rob Bishop, who is now running for lieutenant governor on Wright’s ticket, is between four candidates.

Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt, Blake Moore, Kerry Gibson and Bob Stevenson are vying for a chance to represent Utah’s 1st congressional district. In late May, a KUTV 2News/UtahPolicy.com poll found Stevenson at 38%, followed by Witt at 26%, Gibson at 20% and Moore at 16%.

Witt released a statement after the polls closed. She said:

I’m humbled by all of the positive feedback we’ve been receiving from Utahns for Reopening America and Restoring Our Constitutional Freedoms. There is a lot going on in society right now that is designed to tear us apart. We need to come together as one nation, one people, and with one purpose. I’m committed to ensuring that America remains the beacon of hope for the world.


Utah’s 4th Congressional District is a highly competitive race. Former NFL player Burgess Owens, Rep. Kim Coleman, nonprofit CEO Trent Christensen and talk radio show host Jay McFarland are contending for a

A KUTV 2News/UtahPolicy.com poll put Owens at 36%, McFarland at 28%, Coleman at 23% and Christensen at 13%. Whoever wins will take on Rep. Ben McAdams.


Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is being challenged by Utah County District Attorney David Leavitt. The latest poll shows Reyes with a strong lead over Leavitt but initial numbers showed the race was closer than projected. Reyes issued the following statement Tuesday night:

These are early results but we are very pleased with these numbers. We hope to increase our lead over the coming days.

I want to thank everyone who voted. I am overwhelmed by the incredible support I have received statewide during the Convention and now this Primary race. My family has been my inspiration, including my dad, who we lost during this campaign.

My friends and supporters across the State have been the foundation of our success, including so many everyday heroes, volunteers, business leaders and public officials from mayors and police chiefs to county attorneys, sheriffs and state legislators.

It is an honor as Attorney General to stand watch over and defend Utah. I look forward to continuing my momentum into a November re-election victory so I can continue to serve and protect all Utahns.


In case you missed it, a primetime gubernatorial debate made possible by a partnership between KUTV 2News and the Pioneer Park Coalition took place on June 16th.

The two-hour debate presented by Garbett Homes is co-moderated by 2News Anchor Heidi Hatch and retired award-winning journalist Rod Decker.

You can watch the debate here. Additional information can also be found about the elections on social media.

This story will be updated as information is made available. For more statewide results, click here.

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