SALT LAKE CITY — Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Burningham announced Wednesday night that he has picked Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, to be his lieutenant governor candidate.
In a campaign announcement that doubled as a public service announcement about the COVID-19 pandemic, the two appeared together -- six feet apart. Burningham and Sen. McCay tossed hand sanitizer and ensured they were practicing social distancing.
Burningham, a Provo businessman, abandoned his efforts to gather signatures to secure a spot on the Republican primary ballot as the coronavirus was ramping up and has called on other candidates to do the same for public health. Instead, he's taking his chances with the Utah GOP convention delegates. So far, only the campaigns of Thomas Wright-Rob Bishop and Spencer Cox-Deidre Henderson have qualified for a spot on the primary ballot through signature gathering.
Wednesday's announcement is also a sign that Burningham's campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination is leaning more conservative.
"Dan has consistently been ranked one of the most conservative legislators in Utah during his time in the Utah House and Senate. Burningham-McCay is THE conservative team for Utah," Burningham said in a prepared statement.
Sen. McCay this year successfully passed a bill that bans elective abortions in Utah (with exceptions for rape, incest or health of the mother). The bill does only go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned. He also has pushed for bills to do away with the signature-gathering law.
There are seven candidates seeking the Republican nomination for governor. The others are:
- Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton and her running mate, State Auditor John Dougall
- Former governor and U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. and his running mate, Provo Mayor Michele Kaufusi
- Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and his running mate, Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork
- Developer Jan Garbett and her running mate, Dr. Joe Jarvis
- Real estate broker Thomas Wright and his running mate, Congressman Rob Bishop
- Former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes (who has not yet announced a running mate)