SALT LAKE CITY – The Peterson-Brown ticket emerged from the Democratic state nominating convention on Saturday, April 25 as the overwhelming favorite of party delegates.
The ticket – matching University of Utah professor Chris Peterson of Salt Lake City with community activist Karina Brown of Nibley – captured 88 percent of the delegates’ votes to decisively win the party’s nomination for governor and lieutenant governor of Utah.
Petersen and Brown will now face off against a Republican candidate in the general election in November. Their opponent will be the winner of the GOP primary balloting on June 30.
In a brief press conference via ZOOM teleconferencing technology, Peterson acknowledged that he and Brown face a tough uphill battle between now and November, given that no Democrat has occupied the governor’s office since the mid-1980s. But he noted that Utah’s unemployment rate hasn’t been as high as it is now for 35 years and Peterson added that he hopes that the economic impact of the Coronavirus will prompt “a lot of people, especially moderates … to maybe consider a change.”
Peterson was the recognized front-runner in the crowded Democratic field of candidates seeking to replace outgoing GOP Gov. Gary Herbert. Peterson’s rivals for the Democratic nomination were Archie A. Williams III, Neil Hansen, Nikki Ray Pino, Ryan Jackson and Zackary Adam Moses. None of those candidates achieved double-digit percentages in the Democratic delegates’ voting.
Peterson is well respected in statewide Democratic circles for his work as a law professor and a consumer advocate. He served in the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during the administration of former President Barak Obama.
Brown is a member of the Nibley Planning Commission and the Board of Directors of the Cache Chamber of Commerce. She has a statewide reputation as a health care advocate as a result of her work on the recent Medicaid Expansion. She is currently co-chair of the Cache Celebration of Women’s Suffrage 2020, celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
State Democratic Chair Jeff Merchant judged the party’s virtual convention a success, saying that 85 percent of the state’s more 2,200 delegates participated in the event via online technology.
“This has been the fastest and most efficient election that we’ve ever had in the Democratic Party,” he added.