Live results: Republican Spencer Cox defeats Democrat Christopher Peterson in Utah governor race

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Utah Lt. Gov. Republican Spencer Cox has been elected the next governor of Utah, defeating Democratic challenger Christopher Peterson.

When Gov. Gary Herbert announced his retirement, Cox entered the race to replace him. He had a long history in state politics, as a city councilor, mayor, state representative and now lieutenant governor.

Cox focused his campaign on issues like the economy and education, while also promoting protections of Second Amendment rights and state government power.

His Democratic opponent, Peterson, was a business law professor at the University of Utah. He also has government experience under his belt, with stints at the Department of Defense and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. His priorities also include the economy and education, as well as healthcare and rural development.

The race was unlike many others unfolding the country, as the two candidates have participated in joint ads calling for civility in politics, according to reporting from The Salt Lake Tribune.

“Politics have become a religion to people. We have to tear other people down. We believe Utah can show the nation a better way, and we hope people in Washington, D.C. are paying attention,” Cox said, adding that the message is aimed at President Donald Trump. 

The stakes:

Utah is a reliably red state. Besides the governorship, the party also controls the state legislature. Likewise, the state went to Trump in 2016 and has voted for GOP candidates in every presidential election over the past few decades. That placed Cox, the Republican in the governor’s race, in good territory for a victory on Election Day. 

The money race: Peterson collected around $125,000 in contributions, far behind the $3.3 million raised by Cox, according to the latest campaign finance data. 

What the polls said: Cox held a wide, double-digit lead over Peterson, per the last polling averages from RealClearPolitics.

What the experts said: The race was rated solid Republican by Cook Political ReportInside Elections and Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. 

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