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Abby Cox and Lt. Gov. Spencer F. Cox speaking during last year’s Snow College graduation.

Friends urge Lt. Gov.

Spencer Cox to consider

climbing political ladder

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

Apr. 19, 2018

 

Friends and colleagues of Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox are working to position him run in the 2020 gubernatorial race.

As part of this grassroots movement a political action committee (PAC) called Utah 2020 has been started which is gathering email addresses and pledges of support for Cox.

“Spencer is the finest public servant I have ever met,” said Owen Fuller, one of the PAC’s founding officers. “He is compassionate, clear-eyed. He is doing what he is doing for the right reasons. He’s not there for himself. He is serving in an effort to actually make a difference and to change things that are broken in our political system.

“I want him to know that I and others think he would be an awesome governor.”

Fuller, the general manager at Utah tech company Lucidpress, is spearheading the movement along with another of Cox’s colleagues, Spencer Hall.

Fuller said the movement is still in its infancy, but it “just makes sense.”

Fuller grew up in Alaska but attended BYU and stayed in Utah afterward. He got to know Cox by working with him to help the state handle some technology business matters. He said his motivations in the movement are to improve Utah’s politics and business climate.

He commented, “I thought a lot about how we can all best help with politics right now. I think we all have a duty to find a way to help. I thought the best way I could help is find people I truly believe in and to encourage them to run and do everything I can to help to govern effectively afterward from a volunteer standpoint.”

This isn’t the first time Fuller has tried to spark a political campaign. Congressman John Curtis, who was elected in 2017 after serving two terms as Provo City Mayor, was the first politician Fuller encouraged to run for office.

“John is a good friend of mine,” Fuller said. “I spent a while trying to convince him to run and helping to make sure that there was a foundation of people and resources there so that he knew that if he decided to run he would have people and support.”

Curtis won the 3rd District Congressional seat in a special election, and Fuller said the efforts supporting the former mayor left him pleasantly surprised by how much a concerned citizen can make a difference.

“In the early parts of Curtis’s campaign, being able to help get people organized to lend support was a big help,” he said.

Now he and Hall have their sights set on encouraging Cox to run in 2020.

“I wanted to do the same thing for Spencer’s campaign,” Fuller said. “I think who our governor is really matters. A great governor will help lay a foundation that will help the state to be successful for the next couple decades.”

Fuller calls Cox “a champion for Utah business growth” and admires how deeply Cox understands rural issues.

“That matters a lot to me,” Fuller said.

According to Fuller, Cox said it’s still too early to really know if he will take the plunge, but Fuller said everything he has heard points to Gov. Gary Herbert not running in 2020, leaving the seat wide open, along with no issues of loyalty to prevent Cox from stepping up to the plate.

“Spencer has a lot of affection and genuine respect for Gov. Herbert,” Fuller said.

Cox has been Herbert’s right-hand-man since 2013, when he was appointed by Herbert to replace Greg Bell, who resigned to work in the private sector.

Fuller said his faith in Cox is based on much more than a friendship. He considers him extremely effective—citing the “excellent efforts” Cox has made to combat homelessness in Salt Lake City and being a voice for suicide prevention.

Fuller said, “The last time I talked to Spencer about it, he said ‘Abby and I will make that decision when the time is right.’ It’s a long way out. Right now they’re leaning towards it more than they used to be. That’s encouraging to me and very exciting, but I want to make sure he knows that there are people out there that would really appreciate it if he would run.”

Pledges are being made to make donations to Cox’s campaign if he does decide to run in 2020.  According to Fuller, no money is being transferred until Cox fully endorses the campaign, but it gives a way to show that there is backing there and that a lot of people would rally to support him.

The PAC crowdfunding page where people can endorse or pledge to donate can be found at www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/354772/lets-draft-republican-spencer-cox-to-become-utahs-next-governor/.

The actual PAC website where people can sign up to get updates on the grassroots movement is www.utah2020.com.