Former US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has conceded last Tuesday’s Republican primary race for governor of Utah to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.
“Today the race was called, and we accept the will of the people, as is our tradition as Americans. The visions put forward for Utah were very different, and regret that I will not be leading the efforts in moving us towards a new horizon,” Huntsman said on Twitter.
“Public service is in our blood and whatever our next chapter may hold, I am confident we will find a way to continue to contribute to the good of our community. God bless the Great State of Utah.”
Cox, who will now advance into the state’s general election, tweeted Monday evening, “Just received a gracious call from @JonHuntsman conceding the race. Thanks to all of you for making today happen. We still have much work to do. And we will do it together.”
Huntsman’s concession caps a competitive primary that was largely defined by the novel coronavirus pandemic. Last month, Huntsman announced that he had tested positive for the virus along with multiple staffers in his campaign office.
“We’re working remotely, we haven’t missed a beat. And we won’t miss a beat. We’ll just keep it up,” Huntsman told CNN at the time.
“My focus is going to be getting healthy and as always, making sure we have the best economic plan to get us out of this Covid hole.”
But Huntsman was ultimately unable to leverage his long political resume into another term as governor of the Beehive State.
He previously won two terms as governor in Utah and served as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Russia from September 2017 until October 2019.
He also served as the US ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush from 1992 to 1993 and then served under President Barack Obama as US ambassador to China from 2009 to 2011.
Huntsman resigned from his second term as governor to serve in the Obama administration before launching an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2012.
“This was anything but a typical campaign season, with the COVID-19 pandemic making impossible our ability to meet face-to-face with more of the people in communities across our state,” Huntsman tweeted Monday.
“However, I am heartened by the record voter turnout we saw in this primary election and I hope every eligible voter will exercise this most sacred right in November.”
This story has been updated with additional information Monday.