What Gov. Cox's refusal to veto the congressional map says about his relationship with the Legislature
The proposed congressional redistricting map has passed the Legislature and now awaits Gov. Spencer Cox’s signature. Cox said during a virtual town hall Tuesday night that he planned to approve it because the Legislature passed it with enough votes to overturn a veto.
But the roughly 100 people gathered in protest outside the state Capitol Wednesday night said that wasn’t a good enough reason.
The map is controversial because it splits Salt Lake County into all four of the state’s districts. That makes them all solidly Republican.
“It shows he's not a leader,” said Sarah Buck from Salt Lake City. “Leaders do hard things and he's saying he won't do the right thing because he doesn't think he can peel away one vote. A leader could.”
But Former Republican lawmaker Holly Richardson said it makes sense that Cox wouldn’t spend political capital on a veto, when that veto wasn’t likely to change the outcome of the map.
Richardson said that’s a move that could hurt some relationships with lawmakers.
“That's one of the issues that you face with a super-supermajority state,” she said, referring to the fact that the GOP controls almost 80% of the seats in the Legislature — more than enough for a veto-proof majority. “You have a political party that's in power that doesn't actually need to work with the other party … Sometimes you get good bills, but sometimes you get bills that are really heavily favored by the party in power.”
Richardson said the Cox administration has a closer relationship with the Legislature than past administrations, possibly because he and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson are both former lawmakers.