Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox says he hasn’t made a final decision about running for governor in 2020. But there’s mounting proof that the popular Republican will make the plunge, including his new podcast, called “Cox & Friends,” a play on the conservative Fox News morning show.
Cox said the podcast, which is something he’s wanted to do for a while, has nothing to do with his future plans.
“Elections are constant,” he said. “This is not related to that in any way, but that doesn’t stop people from speculating.”
The first episode dropped last week with a disclaimer that no taxpayer money is spent on the project. On it, Cox talked about politics and the Utah Jazz with two friends: Jon Cox, a former member of Gov. Herbert’s administration, and Owen Fuller, who’s pushing the lieutenant governor to seek the state’s highest office.
Spencer Cox said he’s listened to other politician-produced podcasts “and they’re terrible. They end up being another place for crass partisanship. It’s like an extended ad campaign for office.”
Cox wants to keep his podcast light and personal, covering politics, sports and pop culture with a revolving cast of guests. He plans to let his wife, Abby, host a monthly book club segment.
— Holly Richardson (@HollyontheHill) April 21, 2018
There was also a speech Cox gave at the state GOP Convention last weekend, which focused on partnership and service to others. He mentioned a time when a college student asked him how he could be a conservative and still claim to care about people.
“I looked that student in the eye and I said, ‘Let me be perfectly clear. I am a conservative because I care about people,’” he said to applause from Republican delegates.
“These are the types of things you do to lay the groundwork,” said Holly Richardson, a Republican former state representative. “You give a good speech in front of convention, you get applause. You do some kind of a podcast or a listening tour, [where] you’re going around the state, talking to people.”
Richardson sees the podcast as a not-so-subtle way for Cox to broaden his name recognition, which is something lieutenant governors can struggle with.
“He knows that people are really aware of who our governor is and not very aware of who our lieutenant governor is. So, I think the podcast is another way to get his name out there,” Richardson said, adding that she’d support a potential “Cox for Governor” campaign.
As far as the 2020 governor’s race, Cox admits that for now, he’s leaning toward it “about 80/20.” But he thinks election cycles should happen one at a time.
“I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision right now,” he said. “I don’t want to make that decision right now. When the time is right we’ll know.”
Cox says he has other things to worry about in 2018 — including his new podcast.