Election 2024: Utah Gov. Spencer Cox outspending his Republican rivals — so far

Governor’s reelection effort has spent nearly a half-million dollars, including more than $250,000 on ads.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has spent nearly half a million dollars on his 2024 reelection bid, according to newly filed campaign finance disclosures, outspending and outraising his GOP rivals in advance of this year’s primary election.

Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding and the only GOP gubernatorial contender to enter the race in 2023 — of three other Republicans now in the race — has so far raised less than $100,000.

Beginning in September, according to the latest filings, Cox’s campaign has paid Utah-based Fluid Advertising more than $252,000. A campaign spokesperson confirmed that the Cox team has been running ads but did not provide specifics.

Cox, facing four Republican challengers for the party nod, will again rely on gathering petition signatures to secure his spot on the primary ballot. In 2020, Cox touted a “grassroots” effort to collect the needed 28,000 statewide signatures. That won’t be the case this time. His campaign paid $147,000 in November to a private company, Gather, to amass those signatures.

During the past year, Cox raked in massive campaign contributions from individuals and corporations. He received $50,000 donations each from Pluralsight CEO Aaron Skonnard, real estate executive Kem Gardner, Zions Bank President Scott Anderson, the Larry H. Miller Co. and Layton Construction.

Cox reported more than $1.5 million in total donations to his campaign in 2023, with expenditures topping $1.7 million. He finished the year with just over $1.525 million in available cash.

Only one of Cox’s Republican rivals, Lyman, reported any campaign-related donations or spending in 2023. The state lawmaker pulled in more than $86,000 in donations, nearly half coming from a loan he made to his campaign.

Lyman’s largest campaign expense was nearly $25,000 to bring Riley Gaines to Utah for a pair of fundraising events. Gaines is a former collegiate swimmer who has become a high-profile activist against the inclusion of transgender athletes in women’s sports. Gaines will speak at the University of Utah on Jan. 18 and at Utah Tech University on Jan. 19.

Republicans Carson Jorgensen, Sylvia Miera-Fisk and Scott Robbins did not launch their campaigns until this month, negating the need for a 2023 disclosure.

Democratic candidate Brian King, who launched his gubernatorial campaign in early December, pulled in just over $64,000. He has $44,000 in available campaign cash.

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