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2020 Utah Gubernatorial Candidates

Seal of the Governor of Utah (Photo Wikimedia Commons)
Seal of the Governor of Utah (Photo Wikimedia Commons)
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The 2020 Utah gubernatorial election is taking place on November 3, 2020, to elect the Governor of Utah, concurrently with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Gov. Gary Herbert was eligible to run for re-election to a third full term but chose to retire and endorse his Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

Utah has not had a Democratic governor since Scott M. Matheson left office in January 1985. This is the second-longest active streak of one-party leadership, trailing only South Dakota, which has not had a Democratic governor since Harvey L. Wollman left office in 1979.


Zachary Adams Moses (D) - Zachary is a self-proclaimed worldwide adventure traveler, blogger, tour designer, comedian, and futurist. His biography online reads:

I've been a paperboy, a scrapper, a beach attendant, a vacuum salesman, a telemarketer, a surfing instructor, a personal trainer, a gogo dancer, an actor, a stand-up comedian, a comic strip artist, a warehouse worker, assembly-line "human in a machine," a gardener, a construction worker, a carpenter, a medicine man, a raw foods instructor, an activist, a guitar teacher, a dog walker, an Uber Driver, a speaker, an investor, a handyman, a web developer, a travel guru, a travel writer, a travel agent, a marketer, a salesman, a blogger, a web designer, a systems engineer, an entrepreneur, a son, a brother, an uncle, a husband, and best of all a father. I'm a student of the world. I'm a Zach of All Trades. I believe my life experience will make me a balanced and compassionate governor.

Thomas Wright (R) - Thomas Wright is an owner, president, and principal broker of Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, one of Utah’s leading real estate brokerage firms.

In 2017, Wright was appointed by Gov. Herbert to the Utah State Board of Regents. He previously served three years on the Dixie State University Board of Trustees. He joined the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Board of Trustees in September 2015 and was appointed chair of the Nominating Committee in September 2019.

He also serves on the Board of Directors for the United Way of Salt Lake. He is the former co-chairman of the Utah Debate Commission and was twice elected to serve as volunteer Chairman of the Utah Republican Party, the Salt Lake County Republican Party, and is currently a member of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Wright is a graduate of the University of Utah and resides in Salt Lake City with his wife and their four children. He enjoys golfing, fishing and traveling the world with his family.

Jon M. Huntsman (R) - Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. is no stranger to Utah politics but most people don't know that he dropped out of high school his senior year to play in a band. He had musical aspirations as a pianist before committing to a life of public service and international business. Additional information about Huntsman - now that he's thrown his hat in the ring for governor - a position he's held in the past.

Huntsman was born March 26, 1960, in Palo Alto, California to Jon Meade Huntsman Sr. and Karen Haight Huntsman. He is married to Mary Kaye Cooper and they are the parents of Asha Bharati, adopted from India; Gracie Mei, adopted from China; William, Jon III, Elizabeth, Abigail, and Mary Anne

He attended the University of Utah, from 1978-1980 and received his bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987.

Recent career highlights include:

  • July 18, 2017 - The White House announces that President Donald Trump has chosen Huntsman to be the US ambassador to Russia.
  • September 28, 2017 - The Senate confirms Huntsman as ambassador to Russia.
  • August 6, 2019 - Huntsman submits his resignation letter to President Trump. His resignation is effective on Oct. 3.
  • Nov. 14, 2019 - Announces candidacy for Utah governor2020. (Click here for the entire timeline of Huntsman's career.)

Greg Huges (R) - Greg Hughes is the former Speaker of the House. He grew up in a rough blue-collar neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Raised by a single mother, with the help of aunts and his grandmother, Greg was taught lessons of faith, hard work and strength of will.

After serving a mission for his church, Greg moved to Utah to work on a political campaign and ended up staying, attending Utah Valley State College and BYU. In his early 20’s, Greg started what has become a successful small business doing real estate development and property management. He and his business partner still operate this business today.

In 2002, he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives. In 2010 and 2012 he was elected as the House Majority Whip and in 2014 and 2016 his colleagues elected him as the Speaker of the House. He also served as Chairman of the House Education Committee and he founded the Conservative Caucus.

According to his website, a timeline of his career is as follows:

Small Business Owner 1994-Present

Utah House of Representatives 2003-2018

Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, 2015-2018

Utah House Majority Whip, 2011-2014

Chairman of the House Education Committee, 2007-2010

UTA Board of Trustees, 2006-2014

United Way of Salt Lake, Board of Directors, 2012-2016

Summit Academy Charter School, Board of Trustees, 2006-2015

Lone Peak Hospital, Board of Directors, 2014-2016

The Children’s Museum of Utah, Board of Directors, 2009-2013

Radio Host (Red Meat Radio & Both Sides of the Aisle), 2008-2015

Take 2 Podcast (KUTV) 2019

Jeff Burningham (R) - Since his early life and throughout his career, Jeff Burningham has been an innovator and entrepreneur and has always been drawn to tackling big problems and building high-performing teams. He has demonstrated a knack for sensing what’s around the corner and capturing opportunities.

Jeff’s always been a hard worker. In high school, he was the valedictorian of his class, in addition to being student body president and captain of the football and basketball teams.

While a student at BYU, Jeff founded his first tech start-up with a classmate. He needed a desk to work at so he bought a rickety coffee table from DI and set it up in his student apartment. (It collapsed at least once a day while in use.) His wife Sally’s second-grade teacher salary covered the fledgling company’s expenses.

Jeff and his partner won an award for entrepreneurship and, in just two and a half years, built their technology company into a profitable enterprise with more than 20 employees. Not long after graduation, they sold to a NASDAQ-listed company where Jeff stayed on in a key leadership position for several years.

Jeff next began investing in real estate. By 2006, he could see that the housing market was unsustainable and pulled out of the real estate market before the bubble burst.

After the market crash in 2008, Jeff teamed up with two new partners to get back into real estate investment. They did so during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression --- because they were confident in the future. The first years were a struggle, and success was far from certain but, with skill and grit, these young investors confidently shepherded their fledgling company through the tough times to prosperity.

Their firm has now grown to include over 500 team members. Together, they have delivered affordable housing to tens of thousands of families.

Nikki R. Pino (D) - Nikki R. Pino announced that he is running for governor on Facebook. His post reads:

Any and all support is appreciated. My first big task is collecting 28,000 signatures by April to get on the ballot.
So I ask that you please share this and more as I post updates about policies. You can contact me here or at my other media to contribute in whatever way you can.
I have a twitter @nikkirpino, along with an Instagram of nikkirpino. Soon I will also be posting videos on Facebook and YouTube of me breaking down policies and ideas on the platforms I'll be taking.
I have thought about this for years and feel our government needs a big change if we're going to improve our lives and society and that starts with us. We need to come together regardless of political affiliation, we need to stop doing the same things over and over again while expecting things to change or get better, that's just insane. ;)
We need this change because if we continue our current mindset and elect the same people we always have things will continue to stagnate and even regress. We seem to take one step forward and two steps back as a society and government.
I want to be the voice of all Utahns. I come from nothing and have nothing. I live in poverty. I understand the day to day issues many struggle with such as low pay and high rent; poor child care options, school bills, medical bureaucracy and red tape, to simple things like having reflective paint on the freeways so we can actually see where we're going during bad weather.
There are many politicians that are political puppets or have a hidden agenda that doesn't benefit the citizens of Utah. I am one of you. I am not bound to a corporation or organization, there are no strings on me.
I look forward to speaking with and working with all of you. And I thank you for your time.

Spencer J. Cox (R) - Spencer Cox is the 8th lieutenant governor of Utah. He was raised in Fairview, Utah and appointed to Fairview's city council, and later acted as the city’s mayor.

According to Ballotpedia, following his graduation from law school, Cox was a law clerk to Federal District Judge Ted Stewart. He then began his law career at the firm of Fabian and Clendenin in Salt Lake City. Leaving that position to move back to his hometown of Fairview, Cox became vice president of CentraCom, a rural telecommunications company. There he served on the city council and as mayor before joining the Sanpete County Commission. He was serving on the commission when he was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 2012.

Aimee Winder Newton (R) - Aimee Winder Newton is ready to bring conservative leadership and real experience to deliver citizen-driven results to the Capitol, according to her website.

She currently serves on the Salt Lake County Council – where since 2014 she’s been fighting for innovative solutions to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty, to increase mental health resource coordination, and achieve full government transparency. She was elected by her peers to serve as chair of the council in 2018.

Her time on the council has also earned her the reputation of being a “budget hawk”- she won’t rubberstamp a budget. Instead, she digs deep, pores over numbers, talks with stakeholders, and then holds people accountable for every hard-earned taxpayer dollar as she oversees Utah’s second-largest budget.

Aimee cares about her neighbors and Utah’s families. For over 25 years, she has shown up, pitched in, and improved communities. Aimee rolled up her sleeves to help Taylorsville become a city, and then served as a planning commissioner and school community council member – where she engaged firsthand in public education issues.

In addition to her work on the council, Aimee has been a small business owner since 2003. She values both a smart balance sheet and smart planning. She has also shouldered roles in communication and economic development – experiencing government from all angles in both the public and private sectors.

A graduate of the University of Utah, Aimee and her husband, Matt, have been married 26 years and have four children, ages 15-23.

Chris Peterson (D) - University of Utah law professor Chris Peterson has spent his career fighting for working families. He has worked tirelessly to help the industry to improve the lives of its employees and customers, according to his website.

When our neighbors were losing their homes and the economy was crashing before our eyes, Peterson took the fight to Wall Street greed helping build a team in Washington, D.C. that returned $12 billion to cheated American families. Chris knows Utahns need a fair marketplace that treats customers right and gives every business a chance to succeed.

Peterson's government and policy experience identified on his website include:

  • Working as a Special Advisor in the U.S. Department of Defense where he helped lead the Pentagon’s efforts to protect military service members from predatory lending. The Secretary of Defense awarded Peterson the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence for his efforts on behalf of military families;
  • Serving in the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau where Peterson’s team stopped deceptive and abusive practices by Wall Street banks, payday lenders, and debt collection agencies. His team won $12 billion in refunds and restitution for Americans who were victimized by illegal financial practices; and,
  • Leading at the University of Utah where he worked as an Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with managerial responsibility for the educational mission of the University’s College of Law.

Peterson's entire biography can be read by clicking here.

Neil Hansen, Ryan Jackson and Archie Williams III are also running in the Democratic primary.

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