SALT LAKE CITY — Businessman Jeff Burningham announced Wednesday that Sen. Daniel McCay, R-Riverton, will be his running mate as he seeks the Republican nomination for the 2020 Utah governor's race.
“Utah wants a lieutenant governor who will be a public servant for the people of Utah, someone who understands the legislative process and can help pass an agenda that gets Utah back on track," Burningham said in a news release announcing the pick. "Today I’m happy to introduce you to the next lieutenant governor of the great state of Utah: Senator Dan McCay.”
McCay, representing parts of Salt Lake and Utah counties in Senate District 11, is a former state representative who has held his current seat since 2019. The senator's 2020 legislative record included the controversial SB174, which bans most elective abortions in Utah if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade.
SB174 was signed by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert on Saturday.
Burningham joins several other GOP hopefuls who have already named their lieutenant governor picks for the race:
- Former state GOP Chairman Thomas Wright tabbed U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop
- Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. picked Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi
- Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox opted for state Sen. Deidre Henderson
- Jan Garbett of Garbett Homes picked Dr. Joseph Jarvis, founder of the Utah Health Policy Project
- Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton went with State Auditor John Dougall
Former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes has not yet named a running mate.
“Dan has consistently been ranked one of the most conservative legislators in Utah during his time in the Utah House and Senate," Burningham said in the release, calling his ticket "THE conservative team for Utah."
“I’ve been impressed by Jeff’s leadership and his ideas to take Utah to the next level," McCay said in the release. "Utah needs a CEO right now, Jeff Burningham is that CEO."
Burningham is a founder and chairman of Peak Capital Partners and has never held elected office, billing himself as an outsider candidate with entrepreneurial chops. On March 13, he announced that he would suspend his effort to qualify for the ballot via signature-gathering because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burningham and McCay will now try to earn their spot on the ballot through the state's Republican Party convention, which will be held virtually on April 25. Wright and Cox have qualified for the ballot via signature-gathering; Huntsman and Garbett are still attempting to do so, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Herbert introduced changes to the state's signature-gathering rules last week, designed to limit face-to-face interactions as candidates fight for last-minute signatures to qualify.