UPDATE: Both Hughes and Wright have now conceded, leaving Huntsman and Cox as the two remaining candidates seeking the Republican nomination to run for governor. The original story is below for your reference.
SALT LAKE CITY — The initial vote count on primary night did not go the way former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes or former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright wanted. However, both candidates are optimistic they could pull out a win in the gubernatorial primary.
Wright focused his campaign on more traditional get out the vote methods, like calling or texting voters and sending lots of mailers. He even had several humerous TV commercials.
That’s why he thinks his campaign is still competitive, even though he’s always polled fourth.
“We had a really concise direct mail program that was targeting people that don’t spend a lot of time on social media and online. When you have polls come out that measure people online, then naturally [my supporters are] going to come out a little bit low. That’s fine…but we do have a strategy, and we’re anxious to see if it panned out,” Wright says.
Wright also says he’s been attracting voters who were previously unaffiliated who switched to Republican to vote in the primary. He says they have liked his “commonsense conservatism”.
Many of those voters switched to Republican to vote against Greg Hughes, who has been a lightning rod for liberals in Utah.
Hughes says he realizes this but has had success with conservative voters.
“We think that this is a conservative state. Our values are important. We’re a state of industry. The issues that we have brought up are Constitutionally protected liberties [and] are still on the forefront of everyone’s mind,” Hughes.
Hughes says his internal polls show him neck and neck with front runners Spencer Cox and Jon Huntsman, Jr. if conservatives come out to vote.