Cox’s lead on Huntsman shrinks slightly in updated vote count

Gubernatorial hopeful Spencer Cox saw his lead over Jon Huntsman slip by about 750 votes on Thursday, as state elections officials released another update in the hotly contested Republican primary.

Cox, the current lieutenant governor, is still about 10,900 votes ahead of Huntsman and is in first place with 37% of the current vote total. The updated tally shows Huntsman with 34% support.

The Thursday update added about 58,000 more ballots to the overall vote totals in the GOP primary. The additional results came from Box Elder, Cache, Davis, Grand, Iron, Salt Lake, San Juan, Sanpete, Summit, Utah, Washington and Weber counties.

State elections officials Wednesday evening had estimated that about 112,000 ballots remained to be counted, but weren’t able to give a party breakdown. At least half of those ballots were tallied up Thursday, although it’s not clear how many remain, with additional voting forms continuing to arrive by mail.

Former House Speaker Greg Hughes and former state GOP chairman Thomas Wright, both of whom have conceded defeat, have respectively captured 21% and 8% of the current count.

State lawmakers made changes to this year’s primary election in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, extending canvassing period. Election results won’t be final until that official count is completed in three weeks.

A few rural counties might update totals on Friday afternoon, the state elections office says, but most won’t release the next count until Monday.

Editor’s note: Jon Huntsman is the brother of Paul Huntsman, the chairman of The Salt Lake Tribune’s nonprofit board of directors.