SALT LAKE CITY – After weeks of mostly polite bickering, Utah’s gubernatorial candidates have joined forces to publicly plead for a return to civility in politics.
The campaigns of Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Democratic challenger Chris Peterson have released a trio of public service announcements in which their candidates good-naturedly banter about the need for bipartisanship and urge their supporters to do the same.
“While our national dialogue continues to decline, Chris and I agree that it’s time we expect more of our leaders and more of each other,” Cox said, explaining the motivation behind the public service announcements. “Utah has an opportunity to lead the charge against rank tribalism and commit to treating each other with dignity and respect.”
“It is time to reforge a national commitment to decency and our democratic republic,” Peterson adds.
Cox and Peterson both plan to post the videos on their respective social media sites and make them available to local broadcast outlets.
The first video has a playful tone, in which the candidates acknowledge their differences, shrug off any lumps they’ve taken on the campaign trail and urge their supporters to be equally good sports.
“We can debate issues without degrading each other’s character,” Peterson says.
“We can disagree without out hating each other,” Cox insists.
“Win or lose, in Utah, we all work together,” the Democrat emphasizes.
“So let’s show the country a better way,” the Republican agrees.
The other two videos take a more serious stand by urging Utahns to fully support and peacefully accept the results of the upcoming presidential election.
Those two messages underscore a growing national concern that partisan supporters of one or the other of the presidential hopefuls may react violently if their candidate loses at the ballot box.
“Utah can be an example to the nation. Whether you vote by mail or in person, we will peacefully support the outcome of this presidential election,” Peterson explains. “The time-honored values of a peaceful transition of power and working with those with whom we differ are an integral part of what it means to be an American.”
“Although we sit on different sides of the aisle,” Cox agreed, “we are both committed to American civility and a peaceful transition of power.”
Cox and Peterson are competing to replace outgoing Gov. Gary Herbert in the general election on Nov. 3.