Gov. Cox is facing backlash after his speech at the 2024 GOP state convention

SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Spencer Cox is facing backlash after his speech at the 2024 GOP state convention in Utah sparked a divide within the Republican Party.

As Cox began his speech, he was met with boos and other outbursts from delegates who apparently found his actions this term unsatisfactory.

After receiving this reaction from the audience, Cox mentioned other officials in Republican history who have been ridiculed, some of whom ultimately won in the primaries.

Cox listed his work this term and said he was proud of what he accomplished in the last legislative session.

That list included signing legislation for the largest tax cut in Utah history, constitutional transfer, pro-life legislation and school choice.

“You may hate that I sent troops to the border and have support from Gov. Abbott of Texas. Maybe you hate the 60 lawsuits we filed against President Biden's administration. Maybe you hate that we stopped DEI, ESG and CRT,” Cox said.

He said the real problem was hate.

“Maybe you just hate that I don’t hate enough,” Cox said.

As the governor continued, those present also whistled.

“What I love about real Utah Republicans is that they are architects, not arsonists. You love our state. You care about our neighbors. We passionately disagree, but treat each other with respect. This is the true spirit of the Republican Party that I know and love,” Cox said near the end of his speech.

GOP districts respond

On Thursday, the Iron County Republican Party Executive Committee sent a letter calling on Cox to “walk back divisive, false and inflammatory statements.”

In the letter, members of that committee expressed concern that negative approaches could lead to campaign shifts and lead to more disrespect among delegates.

Incumbent Republicans were forced into primaries in a protracted Republican state convention

While we do not endorse booing as an effective form of communication with our representatives, Spencer Cox's response was no better, and as governor and as a Republican leader, Republican voters expect better leadership,” the letter said.

The committee also said the voting results might have been different if the speech had been more positive and unifying, citing the 29% of votes Cox received.

“We call on Governor Cox to disagree, to retract his divisive, false and inflammatory statements and to stand with the organization of the Utah Republican Party, the Republican voters of Utah and the duly elected volunteer state delegates who represent them at the local level “Sorry.” level,” the letter says.

On Monday, the Salt Lake County Republican Party posted a message on Facebook following the GOP state convention calling his comments “disheartening.”

At the end of the letter they congratulate Phil Lyman, who received 67.54% of the vote in the final round.

Regarding the event, Davis County GOP Chair Yemi Arunsi posted a letter to Facebook acknowledging the elected delegates' hard volunteer work and time dedicated to fulfilling their civic duties.

“Despite efforts to deem them inconsequential, they remain an integral part of a system that promotes community engagement, meaningful dialogue and, above all, opportunity,” Arunsi said.

Arunsi describes the caucus/congress format as beneficial.

“I firmly believe that the lack of decency last weekend was the exception and not the rule. While the system may not be perfect, it is maintained by citizens committed to improving the political landscape – and they deserve our recognition.”

KSL reports that Cox received 28.86% of the vote after the first round of voting and 32.46% of the vote after the last round of voting during the GOP state convention.

Anna Harden

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