Former Utah House Minority Leader Brian King announces candidacy for governor in 2024

A Democrat has not won a statewide Election in Utah since 1996. Former Utah House Minority Leader Brian King has announced his bid for governor in 2024, aiming to end four decades of Republican control in the state. King, a Democrat from Salt Lake City, is currently serving his eighth term in the Utah House.

During his tenure in the Utah Legislature, King has been known for challenging the Republican majority. In 2021, he led a walkout of House Democrats in protest of a non-binding resolution opposing critical race theory in K-12 schools, which was passed using an obscure legislative rule.

The last Democrat to serve as Utah’s governor was Scott Matheson, who left office in 1985. Since then, Utah Democrats have lost 35 statewide elections in a row, with the last win by Jan Graham in 1996. In the 2020 Election, Democrat Chris Peterson lost to Republican Spencer Cox by nearly 33 points.

King currently faces no opposition for the Democratic nomination, while Republicans are gearing up for a competitive race. Rep. Phil Lyman is challenging Cox for the GOP nomination, and former Utah Republican Party Chair Carson Jorgensen is considering a gubernatorial bid.

Candidates can officially file to run for office on January 2, 2024. If King is successful, it would be a historic victory for Utah Democrats and mark a major shift in the state’s political landscape.

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