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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Inside the Beehive — Episode 1: Utah’s Gubernatorial Race

In the first episode of The Daily Utah Chronicle’s new elections podcast, we’re talking about the governor’s race before primaries on June 25. Welcome to Inside the Beehive.
Mary Allen
(Design by Mary Allen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)



[Intro Music] 

Elle Cowley: Hello, and welcome to the first episode of Inside the Beehive, an election podcast for the college student. I’m Elle Cowley.

Vanessa Hudson: And I’m Vanessa Hudson. On today’s episode, we’re talking all about the governor’s race. Gov. Spencer Cox is up for reelection after his first term ends this November. And he has a primary challenger, Rep. Phil Lyman. 

Elle Cowley: So, who is Phil Lyman? Has he held public office before?

Vanessa Hudson: Phil Lyman is currently the representative for House District 69. That district includes Emery, Garfield, Grand, Kane, San Juan and Wayne counties. He’s been in the Utah Legislature since 2019.

Elle Cowley: What about before he was a representative?

Vanessa Hudson: In 2014, when Lyman was San Juan County Commissioner, he led an illegal ATV protest through Utah’s Recapture Canyon. He was found guilty of misdemeanor charges of conspiracy and driving on public lands closed to motorized vehicles. In late 2020, Lyman was pardoned by former President Donald Trump, but Lyman already paid his damages and served a 10-day jail sentence by then. 

Elle Cowley: What makes Lyman a desirable replacement for Gov. Cox?

Vanessa Hudson: I think people like Phil because he has this online persona where he attacks Cox, comparing him to Democrats, trying to place him with the Biden administration. If you look at his X account, you’ll see several posts where he is demanding answers from Cox. Think mask mandates and “culture war” issues. 

Elle Cowley: The most up-to-date polling shows that Cox is still ahead of Lyman in the race for governor-hood, but what are some issues Lyman might focus on if he’s elected?

Vanessa Hudson: Cox is still ahead in the polls, but Lyman beat Cox at the GOP convention in late April. Lyman lists six policy issues on his campaign website: economy, education, elections, immigration, public lands and energy.

Elle Cowley: We’ve talked a lot about Lyman, but let’s focus for a minute on our current governor who’s finishing up his term.

Vanessa Hudson: Cox’s viewpoints on issues have certainly shifted during his term, have they not?

Elle Cowley: For sure. Earlier on in his governorship, Cox was a much more center-right politician. During the 2022 legislative session, he actually vetoed a bill banning trans youth from participating in athletics. However, during the [2024] session, Cox quietly signed a law banning trans people from using restrooms that would align with their gender identity.

Vanessa Hudson: It sounds like public opinion on the governor has shifted during his term. What are some problems the people of Utah have with him that could prevent him from securing a second term?

Elle Cowley: His adoption of “culture war” issues has alienated people on both sides of the political spectrum. And for others leaning further right, Cox simply isn’t radical enough. It’s hard to please everyone.

Vanessa Hudson: We’ve talked a lot about Republican candidates this episode, what about the other side? Are any Democrats running for governor?

Elle Cowley: As a matter of fact, there is! Rep. Brian King serves House District 23, which is Salt Lake and Summit County. He’s running for governor for the Democratic party, however, the chances of him winning are slim. If you look at Utah’s history, the last Democratic governor [in the state] left office in 1985.

Vanessa Hudson: That’s 40 years ago!

Elle Cowley: Exactly. King will also be moving straight to the general election since he is the only Democrat in the running.

Vanessa Hudson: To wrap it up, lets talk a little more about polls and our predictions for the governor’s race.

Elle Cowley: While Cox was defeated in convention, he still has a healthy lead on his opponent right?

Vanessa Hudson: He does. The latest polls show Cox ahead 62% to 25%. According to a Rutgers study, incumbent governors have an 89% success rate.

Elle Cowley: I guess we’ll just have to wait and see which Republican will face off against Brian King in the general election. This year, the primaries will be June 25. Thank you for tuning in to Inside the Beehive. For The Daily Utah Chronicle, I’m Elle Cowley.

Vanessa Hudson: And I’m Vanessa Hudson. Tune in next time for a discussion on the growing trend of Democrats and Independents registering as Republicans for primaries in Utah. And if you have an episode idea, email us! You can email us at [email protected]


Producer: Vanessa Hudson / [email protected]

Host: Elle Cowley / [email protected] 

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About the Contributors
Elle Cowley
Elle Cowley, Multimedia Managing Editor
Elle Cowley (they/them) is a Junior at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in Strategic Communications. Currently, they work for The Daily Utah Chronicle as Multimedia Managing Editor, at Slug Magazine as an Editorial Intern and at KUER as an Intern for RadioWest. Their favorite part of their work is talking to lots of different people and telling their stories. Some of the work they're the most proud of is their work on the narrative podcast, Can of Worms and their Op-Ed series on anti-trans legislation in Utah. When Elle isn't out in the field, they enjoy knitting, visiting record stores and reading pulpy sci-fi.
Vanessa Hudson
Vanessa Hudson, Editor in Chief
Vanessa is from Grand Junction, Colorado. She's a junior majoring in communication with an emphasis in journalism and minoring in modern dance and political science. She is passionate about what she reports on, and she usually winds up writing about local politics and issues. When Vanessa isn't writing, you can find her trying out some new choreography, listening to public radio or watching Marvel and Star Wars movies.
Mary Allen
Mary Allen, Design Director
(she/her) Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Mary is thrilled to be here at the University of Utah studying graphic design. She feels very lucky to get to rub shoulders with the talented people that make up the team here at the Chronicle and is learning a lot from them every day. Other than making things look cute, Mary’s passions include music, pickleball, Diet Coke, wildlife protection, and the Boston Red Sox.

Comments (1)

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    E. BrownJun 25, 2024 at 7:24 pm

    I may be wrong. But as I read this it sounds like a free pro Cox advertisement cloaked as an article. It is not what you say but how you say it.