SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes and former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright have conceded in the race for the Republican nomination for governor.
The concessions come after election-night results showing Wright with 8% of the vote and Hughes with just under 21%, far behind Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
Cox currently leads the race with 37.03% of the vote. He is up on Huntsman by 11,097 votes, and more results are expected Wednesday and in the coming days.
On Facebook, Hughes wrote that running for governor was often "surreal, exciting and truly inspiring."
Every day of this campaign was an adventure. Moments that were surreal, exciting and truly inspiring. Having the...Posted by Greg Hughes Utah on Wednesday, July 1, 2020
"I want to especially thank my new friends, those that supported and volunteered countless hours rallying to our cause," Hughes wrote. "Thank you to my fellow candidates. The competition was stiff, the bar was high and (Utahns) deserved a hard fought race for their support."
He ended the post with a Bible verse, 2 Timothy 4:7: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."
Wright, meanwhile, posted a message of thanks on his personal Twitter account. "Whoever wins, Utah will be in capable hands," Wright wrote. "I lived my dream and I'm better for it."
Thank you, Utah! It was an honor and a privilege to run for Governor. Thanks to @GHughesUtah@JonHuntsman@SpencerJCox for running great campaigns. I’m happy to call them friends. Whoever wins, Utah will be in capable hands. I lived my dream and I’m better for it. #utgop#utpol— Thomas Wright (@th_wright) July 1, 2020
Later Wednesday, Wright elaborated in a news release.
"I’d like to congratulate Jon Huntsman Jr. and Spencer Cox. They along with Greg Hughes, ran great campaigns with worthy ideas for Utah. I am happy to call them friends."
Wright said losing the race "is not the beginning of the end, it is just the end of the beginning."
"My focus will continue to be on building Utah and contributing where I am able," Wright wrote. "Some politicians focus on Election Day but leaders focus on the day after Election Day when hard working citizens get up, go to work, serve their community, build their businesses, raise their families, and strive to make a difference. I am up today to do the same."
Cox and Huntsman will now watch the daily returns for more clarity on the outcome of the race. The winner will advance to face Democratic candidate Chris Peterson, a University of Utah law professor, in the November general election to succeed Gov. Gary Herbert to the state's highest office.