Thomas Wright turns in signatures to get on the ballot while Winder Newton says she’ll focus on the convention instead

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Two Republican candidates for Utah governor took their campaigns for the GOP nomination in opposite directions on Wednesday.

Former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright’s campaign turned in more than 30,000 signatures to win a place on the June primary ballot while Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton is suspending her signature-gathering efforts to focus on the traditional convention path.

Wright, who used paid signature gatherers to pull in the 30,000 signatures, touted the accomplishment while signaling his openness to changing the current system.

“I’m proud of my team and the fact that we’ll be on the ballot in June. But, there are some serious flaws in our elections process, and it’s past time we fixed them,” he said in a statement to UtahPolicy.com.

Wright is the second Republican candidate to turn in signatures to get on the ballot. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox turned in his signatures for validation earlier in February.

Also on Wednesday, Aimee Winder Newton announced her campaign was suspending their efforts to take advantage of the signature-gathering route to focus on securing a bid in the primary election through the caucus/convention. Winder made it clear she could not afford to hire a signature-gathering firm.

“There is not a single gubernatorial campaign that can get all of its signatures without paying for at least some of them,” said Winder Newton in a press release. “I supported a grassroots effort to engage with voters through the signature process, but I’d rather put my resources toward earning the voters’ support.”

Winder Newton joins former House Speaker Greg Hughes in focusing exclusively on winning support from convention delegates at the state convention in April.

Jon Huntsman and Jeff Burningham have also declared their intent to gather signatures to move into the primary.