Governor Cox faces backlash after his speech at the 2024 GOP state convention

SALT LAKE CITY – Governor Spencer Cox is facing backlash after his speech at the 2024 Utah GOP state convention divided the GOP.

As Cox began his speech, he was met with cheers and other outbursts from delegates who seemed to find his actions this semester unsatisfactory.

After receiving this response from the public, Cox mentioned other officials in the history of the Republican Party who were ridiculed, and some ultimately won in the primaries.

Cox listed his works from this mandate and said he was proud of what he did during the recent parliamentary season.

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

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

He said the real problem was hatred.

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

As the governor continued, so did the cheers from those in attendance.

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

GOP counties respond

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

In the letter, members of this committee shared their concerns that a negative approach could increase campaign drift and lead to more disrespect among delegates.

Incumbent Republicans are forced into primaries in a drawn-out Republican Party state convention

While we don’t condone booing as an effective form of communication with our representatives, Spencer Cox’s response was no better. As governor and as Republican leader, Republican voters expect better leadership,” the letter said.

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

“We call on Governor Cox to dissent, to retract his divisive, false and inflammatory comments, and to apologize to the Utah Republican Party organization, the Republican voters of Utah and the duly elected volunteer state delegates who represent them in local elections. level,” the letter said.

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

They end the letter congratulating Phil Lyman, who received 67.54% of the vote in the final round.

In reference to that event, Davis County GOP Chairman Yemi Arunsi posted a letter on Facebook citing the elected deputies’ hard volunteer work and time dedicated to fulfilling their civic duty.

“Despite attempts to dismiss them as insignificant, they remain an integral part of a system that promotes community engagement, meaningful dialogue and, above all, opportunity,” Arunsi said.

Arunsi calls the caucus/convention format useful.

“I firmly believe that the lack of decorum on display last weekend was the exception and not the rule. While the system may not be perfect, it is supported by citizens who are committed to improving the political landscape – and they deserve our appreciation.”

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