2004 Utah gubernatorial election Article

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Utah gubernatorial election, 2004

←  2000 November 2, 2004 2008 →
  Jon Huntsman.jpg Scott Matheson.jpg
Nominee Jon Huntsman Jr. Scott Matheson Jr.
Party Republican Democratic
Running mate Gary Herbert Karen Hale
Popular vote 531,190 380,359
Percentage 57.7% 41.4%

County Results

Governor before election

Olene S. Walker

Elected Governor

Jon Huntsman, Jr.

The Utah gubernatorial election in 2004 took place November 2, 2004. Huntsman won the election, carrying 25 of the 29 counties, winning 57.7% of the overall vote.


In March 2003, Huntsman resigned his post in the Bush administration. In mid-August, three term incumbent Governor Mike Leavitt, whom Huntsman strongly supported, decided not to run for re-election to a fourth term, in order to become the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under the Bush administration. [1] [2] [3] Shortly thereafter, Huntsman filed papers to run for Governor of Utah. [4] In November 2003, Lieutenant Governor Olene S. Walker became the Utah's first female governor as Leavitt was confirmed to become EPA Administrator. [5]

Democratic nomination

Scott Matheson, Jr. entered the race on March 27, 2004. [6] He won the May Democratic nomination unopposed. [7]

Republican primary


Results, First Round
Republican Convention results [8]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jon Huntsman Jr. 959 27.98
Republican Nolan E. Karras 607 17.71
Republican Fred D. Lampropoulos 584 17.04
Republican Olene S. Walker (Incumbent) 495 14.44
Republican Marty Stephens 380 11.09
Republican James V. Hansen 278 8.11
Republican Parley Hellewell 121 3.53
Republican Gary Benson 4 0.12
Results, Final Round, instant-runoff
Republican Convention Results: Candidates Reduced to Two with Instant Runoff [9], [10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jon Huntsman Jr. 1,707 51.28
Republican Nolan E. Karras 1,622 48.72



Huntsman gained the endorsements from U.S. Senator Jake Garn [11] and former U.S. President George H. W. Bush. [12] Polls showed he was the front-runner.

Republican primary results [13]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jon Huntsman Jr. 102,955 66.4
Republican Nolan Karras 52,048 33.6
Total votes 155,003 100

General election



Jon Huntsman Jr., a former advisor for U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush and son of industrialist Jon Huntsman, Sr.—the founder of Huntsman Chemical Corporation—filed papers to run for governor in September 2003. [14] Jason Chaffetz was his campaign manager. In April 2004, Utah County Commissioner Gary Herbert decided to drop out of the Republican nomination and become Huntsman's running mate. [15] Herbert helped Huntsman with the rural community. [16] Huntsman campaigned on eliminating the sales tax on food [17] and on ethics reform. He proposed that lawmakers have to disclose all their gifts, they have to report monthly their campaign contributions, and they can't work as lobbyists immediately after leaving state government. [18] Huntsman opposed President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. He said he would leave a label on the door of the governor's office "Economic Development Czar" if he's elected.

U.S. Attorney, former Harvard University professor, and dean of the University of Utah law school Scott Matheson, Jr. won the Democratic nomination unopposed. He is the son of former Utah Governor Scott Matheson who was also the last Democrat to be elected governor of the red state of Utah. He made education the number one priority. He explained how better schools would attract new business. In one television ad, he called himself "Utah's Education Governor." [19] He criticized Huntsman for supporting school choice reform. [20]


In a March Deseret Morning News/ KSL-TV poll, Matheson was leading all the Republicans running for the nomination except for Huntsman and Walker. [21] An early September Jones poll showed Huntsman leading 49%-39%. [22] An October 6 Salt Lake Tribune poll showed Huntsman leading 49%-33%. [23] An October 7 Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV poll showed Huntsman only leading 49%-40%. [24] An October 29 Salt Lake Tribune poll showed Huntsman leading 50%-36%. [25]


Huntsman raised a little over $3.5 million. Nearly $950,000 of the money raised was from his own personal loans and from family donations. He also raised 100,000 from the Republican Governors Association. Matheson raised almost $2.0 million. About one-fourth of Matheson's funds came from political committees, including $325,000 from the Democratic Governors Association. [26]


Utah gubernatorial election, 2004 [27]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Party Jon Huntsman, Jr. 531,190 57.74% +1.97%
Democratic Scott Matheson, Jr. 380,359 41.35% -0.92%
Personal Choice Ken Larsen 8,399 0.91%
Write-ins 12 0.00%
Majority 150,831 16.40% +2.89%
Turnout 919,960
Republican hold Swing


  1. ^ Swisher, Larry. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=CTOR&p_multi=CTSB&p_theme=ctor&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=11650B303A268920&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty |title= ( help)
  2. ^ Harrie, Dan (August 18, 2003). Salt Lake Tribune, The http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SLTB&p_theme=sltb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=100D37EC86582092&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty |title= ( help)
  3. ^ . March 30, 2003 http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=NewsLibrary&p_multi=DSNB&d_place=DSNB&p_theme=newslibrary2&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0FA1DD71B9919240&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty |title= ( help)
  4. ^ "Huntsman Jr. files campaign papers". Deseret News. 2003-09-11. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  5. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/525035968/Walker-sworn-in-as-Utahs-first-female-governor.html
  6. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595052120/Scott-Matheson-enters-race-for-governor.html
  7. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595062009/No-Demo-runoffs-protest-targets-Rep-Matheson.html
  8. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=7060
  9. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595062022/GOP-selects-Huntsman-Karras.html
  10. ^ http://archive.fairvote.org/irv/utahresults.htm
  11. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/590042998/Garn-endorsing-Jon-Huntsman-Jr.html
  12. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595070455/Bush-Sr-backs-Huntsman.html
  13. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=87523
  14. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/510053399/Huntsman-Jr-files-campaign-papers.html
  15. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595057688/Huntsman-Herbert-join-forces.html
  16. ^ Harrie, Dan (April 21, 2004). Salt Lake Tribune, The http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SLTB&p_theme=sltb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=10228A402028F592&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty |title= ( help)
  17. ^ Harrie, Dan (January 27, 2004). Salt Lake Tribune, The http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SLTB&p_theme=sltb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=100CE4391151C891&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty |title= ( help)
  18. ^ . January 14, 2004 http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=NewsLibrary&p_multi=DSNB&d_place=DSNB&p_theme=newslibrary2&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=10016370C29A30AE&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty |title= ( help)
  19. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595090716/Huntsman-and-Matheson-target-education.html
  20. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595099466/Rhetoric-growing-sharper-in-gubernatorial-campaign.html
  21. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595052120/Scott-Matheson-enters-race-for-governor.html
  22. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595090764/Mathesons-on-the-march.html
  23. ^ Harrie, Dan (October 6, 2004). Salt Lake Tribune, The http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SLTB&p_theme=sltb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=1059AC9CBA082E83&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty |title= ( help)
  24. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595096372/Matheson-inches-closer.html
  25. ^ Harrie, Dan (October 29, 2004). Salt Lake Tribune, The http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SLTB&p_theme=sltb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=1061EE7A90E8A5D9&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Missing or empty |title= ( help)
  26. ^ http://www.deseretnews.com/article/595101078/Matheson-mild-attack-ad-criticized.html
  27. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 12, 2008. Retrieved May 1, 2012.

See also

Election Results – Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office