Spencer Cox (politician)

Spencer Cox
8th Lieutenant Governor of Utah
Assumed office
October 16, 2013
Governor Gary Herbert
Preceded by Greg Bell
Member of the Utah House of Representatives
from the 58th district
In office
January 1, 2013  October 16, 2013
Preceded by Stephen Sandstrom
Succeeded by Jon Cox
Personal details
Born (1975-07-11) July 11, 1975
Mount Pleasant, Utah, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Abby
Children 4
Alma mater Snow College
Utah State University (BA)
Washington and Lee University (JD)

Spencer J. Cox (born July 11, 1975) is an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Republican Party, Cox is the lieutenant governor of Utah.

Cox began his political career as a city councilor for Fairview, Utah, and later served as its mayor. He was elected as a Sanpete County commissioner in 2008, and to the Utah House of Representatives in 2012. In October 2013, Governor Gary Herbert selected Cox to replace Greg Bell as lieutenant governor.

Early life and career

Cox graduated from North Sanpete High School in Mount Pleasant, Utah. He enrolled at Snow College and completed a mission to Mexico for the Mormon Church while he was a student. After graduating with an associate degree, he attended Utah State University (USU), where he obtained his bachelor's degree in political science.[1] At USU, Cox was named Student of the Year and graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. Accepted to Harvard Law School, Cox instead enrolled at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctor.[1][2]

After law school, Cox became a law clerk for Judge Ted Stewart of the U.S. District Court for Utah. Following his clerkship, Cox joined Fabian and Clendenin, a Salt Lake City law firm. He then returned to rural Utah and became a vice president of CentraCom.[1][3]

Political career

Cox was appointed as a city councilor of Fairview, Utah,[2] and elected mayor the next year. In 2008, he was elected as a Sanpete County commissioner.[1]

Cox was elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 2012 and became the first member to call for the impeachment of John Swallow, the attorney general of Utah, over violations of laws governing campaign finance.[4] Cox and Lieutenant Governor Bell served as co-chairs of Governor Herbert's Rural Partnership Board.[5]

In October 2013, Herbert selected Cox to succeed Bell as lieutenant governor, following Bell's resignation.[5] His nomination was approved unanimously by the Utah Senate's Government Operations Confirmation Committee on October 15.[6] The next day, he was confirmed unanimously by the full Utah Senate and sworn in.[7]

As lieutenant governor, Cox's office produced a report on Swallow's financial interests, demonstrating that Swallow had failed to properly disclose all of his income and business interests. Swallow resigned before the release of the report.[8]

In October 2015, Cox endorsed Marco Rubio for the Republican Party nomination in the 2016 presidential election.[9] After Rubio withdrew, Cox endorsed Ted Cruz in March 2016.[10] Of Donald Trump, the front-runner, Cox said: "We care a lot about decorum. We care about our neighbors. We are a good, kind people. He does not represent neither goodness nor kindness."[11] He has said he will not support Trump if he wins the Republican nomination: "I think he's disingenuous. I think he's dangerous. I think he represents the worst of what our great country stands for.... I won't vote for Hillary, but I won't vote for Trump, either."[12]

On June 13, 2016, Cox spoke at a vigil in Salt Lake City honoring those who died in the Orlando nightclub shooting the day before. He surprised many when he apologized for mistreating schoolmates and his lack of support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.[13][14] He aimed part of his speech at the "straight community":[15]

How did you feel when you heard that 49 people had been gunned down by a self-proclaimed terrorist? That’s the easy question. Here is the hard one: Did that feeling change when you found out the shooting was at a gay bar at 2 a.m. in the morning? If that feeling changed, then we are doing something wrong.


Cox is the oldest of eight children and grew up on a farm in Fairview.[1] He and his wife, Abby, have four children.[2] Cox's father, Eddie, serves on the Utah Transportation Commission and was also a Sanpete County commissioner.[6]

Cox plays bass guitar in a garage band.[4][6] His brother-in-law, Travis Osmond, the son of Merrill Osmond, taught him how to play the bass.[16] State Representative Mike McKell is also a brother-in-law.[1] Cox's fourth cousin, Jon Cox, succeeded him in the Utah House of Representatives.[17]

Electoral history

Utah House of Representatives 58th District Election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Spencer Cox 11,839 100.00


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Gehrke, Robert (October 15, 2013). "How Cox rose from farm boy to lieutenant-governor-in-waiting". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  2. 1 2 3 Wells, David (October 8, 2013). "Utah's new Lt. Governor announced". FOX13Now.com. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  3. Robinson, Doug (June 29, 2014). "Spencer Cox: The lieutenant governor who almost said no". Deseret News. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  4. 1 2 Gehrke, Robert (October 8, 2013). "Herbert picks state Rep. Spencer Cox as new lieutenant governor". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  5. 1 2 Roche, Lisa Riley (October 8, 2013). "Gov. Herbert names Rep. Spencer Cox new lieutenant governor". Deseret News. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 Roche, Lisa Riley (October 15, 2013). "Lt. gov. pick Spencer Cox wins unanimous approval from confirmation committee". Deseret News. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  7. Roche, Lisa Riley (October 16, 2013). "'Shocked' Spencer Cox sworn in as new lieutenant governor". Deseret News. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  8. Gehrke, Robert (November 22, 2013). "Swallow resigns, proclaiming innocence: 'Time for the madness to stop'". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  9. Steinbrecher, Lauren; Wells, David (October 19, 2015). "Presidential candidate Marco Rubio visiting Utah Monday". FOX13 Salt Lake City. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  10. Woodruff, Daniel (March 19, 2016). "Utah's Lt. Gov. endorses Ted Cruz, condemns Trump's comments on Romney". KUTV. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  11. "Trump's Appeal With Mormons To Be Tested In Utah". CBS Baltimore. Associated Press.
  12. Winslow, Ben; Wells, David (March 16, 2016). "GOP presidential debate in SLC canceled". FOX13 Salt Lake City. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  13. Victor, Daniel (June 16, 2016). "At Vigil for Orlando Victims, Utah Republican Apologizes to L.G.B.T. Community". New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  14. McEvers, Kelly (June 15, 2016). "'My Heart Has Changed': Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox Apologizes To LGBT Community". NPR. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  15. "Lt. Gov. Cox speaks at vigil for Orlando: 'My heart has changed' (transcript)". June 14, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  16. Clark, Antone (October 15, 2013). "Cox expected to take office as lieutenant governor". Standard-Examiner. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  17. Romboy, Dennis (November 8, 2013). "GOP names Utah House replacement for Spencer Cox — his fourth cousin". Deseret News. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
Political offices
Preceded by
Greg Bell
Lieutenant Governor of Utah
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