SALT LAKE CITY — Republican candidate for governor Greg Hughes named Washington County Commission Chairman Victor Iverson as his running mate on Tuesday.
“Victor is a proven leader with a commitment to conservative principles,” said Hughes, a former Utah House speaker and one of eight Republican candidates in the race to succeed GOP Gov. Gary Herbert, who is not running for reelection after more than a decade in office.
Hughes said Iverson “has kept Washington County strong and prepared, with the lowest tax rate in the state and a full year of rainy day funds in reserve. Victor has served government at the city, county and federal level, is immediate past president of the Utah Association of Counties and is the person Utah can trust to be the next lieutenant governor.”
Iverson, elected to the Washington County Board of Commissioners in 2015 and currently serving as chairman, has also been a La Verkin city councilman, chairman of the Utah Association of Counties’ public lands committee and natural resources and public lands policy adviser for Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
“I am grateful for the honor of joining this team and helping Speaker Hughes become the next governor of Utah,” Iverson said. “He is the conservative candidate with the proven ability to get things done, no matter the challenge. He will represent all of Utah well. Greg Hughes is exactly who we need during these difficult times.”
The other Republicans in the governor’s race have already named their running mates, but Hughes told Deseret News opinion editor Boyd Matheson on KSL Newsradio that he “never felt a lot of pressure about it. ... I was asked the question a lot, but I work on my gut. It’s what feels right.”
Former GOP Chairman Thomas Wright was the first, selecting retiring U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop in January. Former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. named Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi as his pick for lieutenant governor in February, and in March, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox chose state Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork.
More recently, Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton went with Utah State Auditor John Dougall, as her running mate, while Provo businessman Jeff Burningham added state Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, to his ticket.
Businesswoman Jan Garbett, who has not qualified for the June primary ballot and is suing the state, had picked a doctor, Joe Jarvis. Perennial candidate Jason Christensen chose Drew Chamberlain.
GOP delegates will meet virtually at their state convention on April 25 to advance as many as two candidates for the primary ballot. Wright, Cox and Huntsman have already secured a spot on the ballot by submitting 28,000 verified voter signatures to the state.
A news release from Hughes’ campaign said for Iverson, “love of country, God, the U.S. Constitution and the Western way of life were all a part of his upbringing and remain the principles that guide his life and work.” As a La Verkin councilman, Iverson supported an ordinance declaring the town a “United Nations-free zone.”
Hughes said Iverson understands the needs of Utahns who don’t live along the Wasatch Front.
“The prosperity and the opportunities for economic growth have got to be across this state — rural Utah, southern Utah, outside the Wasatch Front. You cannot continue to hyperfocus all infrastructure, jobs and growth in just four counties,” Hughes said, when residents of places like Washington County also have traffic and housing concerns.
Iverson said he sees the pairing as a “Utah-unifying ticket. It doesn’t matter where you live ... your voice matters.” He said Utah is “one state, we’re one people. As communities prosper, no matter where they are in Utah, all of us prosper. That’s really going to be the goal.”
Clarification: An earlier version did not include candidate Jeff Burningham and his choice for lieutenant governor, state Sen. Dan McCay.