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Cox limits campaigning during COVID-19 crisis, asks people to donate to those in need

Pandemic affecting all candidates' campaign plans
Lt. Governor Spencer Cox
Posted at 10:41 AM, Mar 21, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Lt. Governor Spencer Cox is pulling back his campaign activity as the state deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, instead asking for campaign contributions to go to those in need.

In an email to supporters, Cox announced TV ads and events had been canceled, meetings were moving online and he would be scaling back his gubernatorial bid temporarily.

"Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. As you as an individual, family or business tighten your financial belt, we are committed to doing so along with you. This is not the time for new expensive ads, fancy call centers, or fundraising asks. It’s time for us to step up, sacrifice, innovate and help others," he wrote. "As many of you were planning on making a contribution to our campaign, please think of someone who might need it more than we do."

Governor Gary Herbert tapped his lieutenant to head up Utah's task force that responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cox, who recently announced Sen. Deidre Henderson has his running mate, is not the only candidate to limit or change their style of campaigning during the crisis. Jeff Burningham announced last week he was suspending signature-gathering efforts to secure a spot on the June primary ballot and called on other candidates to do the same.

Greg Hughes has pivoted to host virtual town halls, including one on how he would respond to COVID-19 economic issues. So did Thomas Wright, who announced last week he would be suspending town halls "for the safety of the voters."

Aimee Winder Newton, who serves on the Salt Lake County Council, has been involved in their response to the pandemic and highlighting her efforts on her campaign's Facebook page. The website for Jon Huntsman Jr.'s campaign (with Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi as his running mate) site shows he is still collecting signatures, but listing locations where people could sign.

Jan Garbett recently launched her campaign and said she intends to continue to collect signatures to earn a spot on the ballot. She and her running mate, Joe Jarvis, have said that the Lt. Governor's Office (which oversees elections) should lower the threshold or allow online signature-gathering.

On the Democratic side, Zachary Moses is holding town hall meetings, according to recent posts on his campaign's Facebook page. Nikki Pino's campaign website lists events as "to be determined." Chris Peterson recently called for the state to "cut red tape" on compliance deadlines as the pandemic goes on.