Springville Curtis Town Hall 08

Rep. John Curtis speaks with constituents while holding a town hall in the public library in Springville, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (Natalie Behring, special to the Daily Herald)

Gubernatorial candidate Spencer Cox picked up an endorsement from Utah’s 3rd Congressional District representative ahead of Tuesday’s crowded and closely contested primary.

U.S. Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, announced Friday that he was endorsing Cox, Utah’s current lieutenant governor and one of four Republican candidates vying to replace Gov. Gary Herbert, who is not seeking reelection after a decade leading the state’s highest office.

“I’ve worked with Spencer Cox during my time as the mayor of Provo and now as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Curtis said in a press release and on social media. “He is a proven leader and a consistent conservative. He has a strong track record of standing up for Utah values of strong families, limited government, and economic opportunity.”

The endorsement from Curtis, who replaced Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in November 2017 after seven years as mayor of the Utah County seat, is particularly notable in that Curtis’ successor, Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi, is running for lieutenant governor as the running mate of former Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr.

Cox’s running mate is Republican Spanish Fork Sen. Deidre Henderson, who sponsored a bill during this year’s general session to reduce the criminal penalty for polygamy from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The Republican congressman praised Cox for having “guided our state through the most prosperous decade in our history” in his role as lieutenant governor, which has included leading the state’s coronavirus task force.

“Over the past few months, he has helped lead our state through one of the most challenging periods we’ve ever faced,” said Curtis. “I urge all Republicans across our state, and especially in Utah County and the Third District, to vote today for Spencer Cox as Governor and Senator Deidre Henderson as Lt. Governor.”

Both Cox and Huntsman have picked up high-profile endorsements in their runs for governor. Huntsman’s list of endorsements includes U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, retired U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch and Zions Bank President Scott Anderson. Meanwhile, Cox has been endorsed by Herbert, Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller and Vivint Smart Home CEO Josh James.

The other Republican gubernatorial candidates that will compete in Tuesday’s GOP primary are former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes and former Utah Republican Party Chair Thomas Wright.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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