Two Utahns are reportedly on the short list to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in the Trump administration – Rep. Rob Bishop and Attorney General Sean Reyes. If either of those two ends up getting the nod from President Donald Trump, it could shake up what is beginning to look like a crowded field for Utah Governor in 2020.
Both men have reportedly been taking a hard look at the race. Bishop conducted some polling before the 2018 midterm elections to “test the water” for a possible gubernatorial bid in 2020. Reyes has been talked about as a possible candidate in the 2020 race since 2017. If either ends up in Washington, it most likely takes them out of the running for 2020.
When House Speaker Paul Ryan announced earlier this year he would not run for re-election, Bishop was talked about as a dark-horse candidate to replace him as Speaker if Republicans had been able to keep control of the House. As we now know, that didn’t happen.
This is not Reyes’ first dance with the Trump administration. In 2017 he was reportedly a candidate to head up the Federal Trade Commission under Trump, but that appointment never materialized.
While neither is expected to be one of the front-runners to replace Gary Herbert two years from now, in a crowded field for the GOP nomination, anything could happen, especially now that candidates have the ability to gather signatures to get on the ballot. If multiple candidates take that route, it creates the possibility that the GOP nomination could be won with a plurality instead of a majority of the vote.
If either Reyes or Bishop gets the nod from Trump, which is unlikely, that means one less person in the race in 2020, which would be welcome news for the other GOP candidates.
Other Republicans reportedly considering launching a campaign for the GOP nomination in 2020 include current Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, former Congressman Jason Chaffetz, businessman Greg Miller, outgoing House Speaker Greg Hughes, and State Auditor John Dougall.