Last week both Rep. Jason Chaffetz and Josh Romney made waves by expressing their interest in running for governor when 2020 rolls around (it must have been a slow news week). That completely jumps over the 2016 election that is later this year.
We decided to indulge this future speculation this week on our “Political Insiders” survey, asking our panelists who they thought was most likely to run for governor four years from now.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox got the most action from our panelists and readers. 38% of Republicans, 20% of Democrats and a whopping 72% of our readers picked the first-term Lt. Governor as the best pick for 2020.
Surprisingly, Democrats on our panel selected Josh Romney as their top pick (38%), followed by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (28%).
Republicans picked Chaffetz second (18%) and Overstock.com chairman of the board Jonathan Johnson third (6%). Republicans also led the way asking why the heck we were spending time thinking about 2020. 30% said this speculation was a waste while 8% of Democrats and 11% of our readers did.
Some of the best anonymous comments from our panelists and readers are below:
Selected anonymous comments:
“Tagg would be a better Romney son. He’s actually done something with his life.”
“First Senate, then Speaker of the House, and now Governor. Go away Chaffetz. You’re Utah’s version of Donald Trump. It’s always about you.”
“I’ve only heard Cox speak twice, but both times I’ve come away impressed. Four years are light years away in politics, and this guy will keep gaining ground with every Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce he visits as lieutenant governor.”
“Cox is the real deal. Don’t underestimate him.”
“Cox for Senate in 2018. He’d make an excellent alter ego to Mike Lee.”
“Even though his dad was governor of Massachusetts, at least Mitt Romney had some success in the private sector before he ran for governor. Josh has done absolutely nothing.”
“Chaffetz is always looking out for himself. Just the kind of guy we want running the state.”
“Chaffetz got fired within a year when he was the governor’s chief of staff. What could possibly go wrong this time around?”
“I thought Chaffetz was running for Speaker of the House. In Utah, we call that kind of thing, ‘pulling a Dabakis.'”
“At least Jon Huntsman Jr. served as an ambassador before he was elected Governor. Still waiting for Josh to do something, anything before we elect to the state’s most important position.”
“Besides getting on TV a lot, tell me one thing Chaffetz has done in his eight years in Congress. Anyone…..Buehler?”
“The only other person besides Chaffetz to have declared for a 2020 race is Kanye West. What a joke.”
“The caucus system is the only thing that can save us from political royalties from prominent families taking over Utah politics.”
“Watching Spencer Cox stand up the Bizarro World antics of James Evans shows the kind of courageous leadership we need more of in public office.”
“When the only thing on your resume is, ‘my dad ran for president,’ you probably don’t rise to the level of Governor material. Run for something smaller first–Congress maybe–and then let’s talk about Governor.”
“I think we should also add Greg Bell’s name to this list. By 2020, he may be in a financial position to get back into public service, and he would be a formidable candidate.”
“I am Republican, and any of these people can do a good job except for Jonathan Johnson (He is not a Republican…he is something else…still being determined in my mind…in a very dark place.) I think it is time for a moderate Democrat to be governor to be a thorn in the sides of Howard Stevenson, Greg Hughes and the like. A Democrat, who effectively uses the ‘bully pulpit, ‘ might be able to shine a bright light on some of the legislative monkeyshines happening now and get us away from some very unproductive and bordering on dishonest stuff going on now.”
“Let’s pray Jason Chaffetz either doesn’t run or become Utah Governor in 2020. Not only is he one of the most divisive politicians in Washington, but he has been discredited on countless occasions. He’s not the type of person we need representing the entirety of Utah.”
“Romney will be the Governor. Assuming he’s ideologically aligned with his father, he’ll be conservative enough to win the primary yet pragmatic. Such a politician has become the standard model for Utah governors in recent years/decades, and he’ll be able to carry on the past Huntsman-Herbert successes.”
“It makes me laugh that Josh Romney thinks he’s REMOTELY qualified to be a governor. Name recognition is not much of a political accomplishment.”
“At this point noise about 2020 is just trying to mark territory to scare off future competition but still trying to pretend the brand is relevant.”
“If Romney gets in, he can clear the field and win with his money, name ID and family. If he really wants to run, though, he should be more visible and involved in political and community issues before then as right now he looks like he would just be running on his family name. If he doesn’t run, it will be a free for all campaign like 2004 with probably a half a 6-8 good. legitimate candidates and a few wingnuts with no chance running like then. If he doesn’t run, you could have a really interesting race with Cox, Chaffetz, Johnson, Greg Hughes, Thomas Wright and maybe another prominent businessman or two as well as a couple of more good legislators. It would be fascinating. Doesn’t matter who runs as the Democrat, they can’t get elected with the current statewide demographics.”
“Josh Romney is the most over rated individual in Utah politics. Hell of a nice guy but seriously, why do people think he can transfer his fathers voters over to him? He also isn’t a pioneer commodity like his dad being LDS and running for President. He is just another white Mormon guy running for Governor in Utah. Not a real novelty.”
“For heaven sakes, let’s, at least, get through the 2016 election first! That being said, of the names listed, I would place my bet on Josh Romney.”
“The good news is that we know he already bought the domain names ChaffetzForGovernor.com, ChaffetzForSenate.com, and ChaffetzForPresident.com almost eight years ago when he was first elected. The Chaffetz ego is an aspiring Donald Trump wannabe.”
“I couldn’t agree more with Lt. Cox when he said that this isn’t D.C. we should focus on the tasks at hand and deal with 2020 in a few years. The fact that Jason Chaffetz and Josh Romney are already talking about it just shows how out of touch they really are with regular Utahns.”
“What the Hell has Josh Romney done other than be the progeny of the vagabond politician, who exaggerated his role in the Olympics to promote himself to run for President. We can only take one of these in our lifetime.”
“Are you really asking this question for a race that won’t happen for four more years? Seriously?”
“If you had the middle name Romney you could probably get elected in Utah.”
“Without term limits what keeps Gary Herbert from running again … And again and again.”