In the topsy-turvy political environment of 2020, this is a notable development. Spencer Cox and Chris Peterson, the Republican and Democratic nominees for Utah governor, are promising to respect the outcome of the presidential race.
Cox and Peterson released a triad of public service announcements Tuesday urging Utah to be “an example for the rest of the nation” and not let partisanship overwhelm our politics.
It says a lot about the polarized nature of our politics when rivals calling for civility is a newsworthy happening. A Pew Center study from September found 77% of voters who support President Donald Trump and 87% of those who back Joe Biden have “just a few” or no friends who support the other candidate.
The ads strike a lighthearted tone, with Cox and Peterson bantering back and forth about who voters should support, before taking a turn to the serious.
“We’ve come together with a message more important than our differences,” says Cox in one ad.
“That we will fully support the results of the presidential election,” adds Peterson.
“So Utah can be an example to the nation,” added Cox.
These ads are a reaction to Trump, who has repeated refusal to commit to honoring the outcome of the November vote. The president is almost assured of carrying Utah in November with recent polling showing him with a 10-point lead over Biden, though Biden has had a stable lead nationally. Cox and Peterson pledge they won’t join the partisan pile-on should the results spawn lawsuits and accusations of fraud.
“The time-honored values of a peaceful transition of power and working with those with whom we differ are an integral part of what it means to be an American,” said Peterson in a joint statement with Cox. “It’s time to reforge a national commitment to decency and our democratic republic.”
“Although we sit on different sides of the aisle, we are both committed to American civility and a peaceful transition of power,” added Cox.
Sen. Mitt Romney, who just last week bemoaned a lack of civility in American politics, applauded. the effort.
“It’s vitally important that leaders at all levels follow Utah’s example and lower the heat,” Romney tweeted.
Polling shows Cox with a commanding lead over Peterson ahead of November’s election.
The two campaigns said the videos will be made available to local broadcast outlets.