Burningham names McCay as his running mate

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Burningham named State Senator Dan McCay, R-Riverton, as his running mate on Wednesday night.

Burningham made the announcement during a virtual cottage meeting with Republican state delegates.

“Dan has consistently been ranked one of the most conservative legislators in Utah during his time in the Utah House and Senate,” said Burningham in a video release announcing his pick.

McCay should help Burningham burnish his conservative bonafides with GOP delegates as he is quite popular with that group. In 2018, McCay overwhelmingly won the GOP nomination for his current seat among a crowded field of Republican candidates who were seeking to replace Sen. Howard Stephenson who was retiring. 

Burningham is seeking one of two possible spots on the June Republican primary ballot through the convention route after suspending his attempt to gather 28,000 signatures through the state’s dual-path.

McCay has championed a number of conservative causes during his time in the Utah Legislature. This year he pushed through a near-total ban on abortions in Utah that would go into effect if the Supreme Court were to overturn the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in all 50 states. 

McCay flirted with a run for Congress this year in Utah’s 4th Congressional District but ultimately passed on the race because it would take too much of a toll on his young children still at home.

“I’ve been impressed by Jeff’s leadership and his ideas to take Utah to the next level,” said McCay in the announcement video. “Utah needs a CEO right now. Jeff Burningham is that CEO.”

The only Republican candidate yet to name a lieutenant governor candidate is former House Speaker Greg Hughes. A spokesperson for his campaign said they will name their pick prior to the Utah GOP convention on April 25.