Jon Hunstman Jr. is currently trailing in Utah's primary election, but ballots are still being counted

By Sean Neumann
July 01, 2020 05:55 PM
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From left: Abby Huntsman and her dad, Jon Huntsman Jr.
Abby Huntsman/Instagram

Abby Huntsman, the former View co-host, is waiting along with the rest of Utah to find out whether her father, Jon Huntsman Jr., will move one step closer to once again becoming the state's governor.

Huntsman Jr., the talk show host's 60-year-old father, was trailing Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox by roughly 11,600 votes, or 2.7 points, in the Republican primary, according to Wednesday afternoon results from The New York Times.

Tuesday night's primary was conducted entirely by mail-in ballots, so votes were still being counted Wednesday to find out who won the race, the Associated Press reports.

"The early numbers are encouraging but this election will be too close to call until every vote is counted," Huntsman Jr. said in a statement, according to the Deseret News. "That’s the beauty of the American election system. We look forward to tracking the final results over the next several days."

Cox told his supporters Tuesday: "You’ve made us so proud,” according to the News. “We love what you stand for,” he said. “We love the goodness that has shown through from the very beginning.”

The AP reports that Utah opted to conduct Tuesday's primary election completely via mail because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which infected both of Abby's parents. (They have since recovered.)

Her father was in attendance for his campaign's election night event on Tuesday, according to photos he reposted on Twitter.

Abby announced she was leaving The View in January, after two seasons as a co-host, in order to join her father's campaign.

Huntsman Jr. was the governor of Utah from 2005 to 2009 before being appointed as the U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama and then later became the U.S. ambassador to Russia in President Donald Trump's administration before resigning last October in order to once again run for the Utah's highest-elected office.

“Family has always been my No. 1 priority, and is where I need to be focused at this time,” Abby, 33, said in an earlier statement about her View exit. “We are incredibly close and are there to support and help each other when it matters. It’s not often there is a political campaign that involves someone you love and believe in, but this is one of them.”

Abby Huntsman on The View
Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty
From left: Jon Huntsman Jr. and Mary Kaye Huntsman holding Abby Huntsman's twin children in 2019
Abby Huntsman

Huntsman Jr. was a popular governor to many in Utah, according to the AP.

The outlet also notes the conservative state saw many Democratic and independent voters registering as Republicans in order to vote in Tuesday's primary, given the fact that a GOP candidate is typically expected to win the general election over a Democratic candidate. (The party has nominated Chris Peterson for November's election.)

Utah's current governor, Gary Herbert, announced shortly after he was re-elected in 2016 that he would not seek another term and eventually endorsed Cox.

Cox helped run the state's coronavirus response in recent months, according to the AP.

Abby wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday that "there is no one I believe in more than this man to lead during such uncertain times" than her father, however.

"How much life has changed in five months for our little family," she wrote alongside a photo of her and her father. "No matter what happens, working alongside my dad has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life so far."