Rep. Phil Lyman running for Utah governor in 2024

The Republican state lawmaker — who has embraced evidence-free claims of election fraud following the 2020 election — made his announcement on Monday afternoon.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. Lyman announced Monday that he is running for governing in Utah's 2024 gubernatorial election.

Republican state Rep. Phil Lyman is challenging incumbent Gov. Spencer Cox for the GOP gubernatorial nomination next year.

Lyman, in his third term in the Utah House, announced his run Monday afternoon with a campaign video posted to the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

It appears Lyman will make his 2015 federal conviction for leading an illegal ATV protest on federal lands a centerpiece of his campaign for the Republican nomination. Shortly before leaving office, former President Donald Trump pardoned Lyman in December of 2020.

“If we find ourselves with a government that conjures emergencies to trample our rights, then in our republic, we have the right to choose new leaders. I believe we have better roads ahead,” Lyman said in a news release announcing his candidacy.

Even before he officially announced he was joining the race, the far-right Utah Patriots militia group was fundraising for Lyman’s upcoming campaign, organizing several events to help grow Lyman’s campaign coffers.

Lyman is solidly on the far-right politically. He embraced evidence-free claims of election fraud following the 2020 election, joining former Rep. Steve Christiansen — who tried obtaining the personal information of Utah voters — in pushing for a “forensic audit” of that year’s presidential election. In the Legislature, Lyman sponsored legislation to do away with Utah’s vote-by-mail system, a bill that was defeated in the 2022 session.

During the 2022 Republican U.S. Senate primary election, Lyman erroneously claimed that voting machines switched votes from incumbent Mike Lee to his opponents.

Lyman did not do much to keep his gubernatorial aspirations a secret. My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell let slip that Lyman was considering running for governor when they spoke at a Colorado event centered around election fraud conspiracy theories last June. At the time, Lyman denied he was mulling a run for governor.

Lyman also hosted a short-lived, conspiracy-driven podcast with fellow Republican lawmaker Mike Petersen, R-North Logan. One episode featured a lengthy discussion about the state’s digital driver’s license program that claimed the United Nations was using the initiative to stage a stealth takeover of the state.