Former Utah Republican Party Chair Thomas Wright announced Thursday that Utah Congressman Rob Bishop is joining his ticket as a candidate for lieutenant governor.
Bishop, a former school teacher, spent 16 years in the Utah State Legislature and will have served 18 years in Congress by the end of his term this year. He is also a former Utah Republican Party chair, like Wright.
Bishop had considered running for governor this year, but he opted to endorse Wright instead and eventually signed on as his running mate.
“I have watched as he's been able to bring people together, has really creative and pragmatic solutions, but always based on the same conservative constitutional principles that I believe,” Bishop said.
Wright is pitching himself as a political outsider with political connections, since he’s never held elected office but is involved with the Republican Party.
“The Congressman has been a speaker of the [Utah] House,” Wright said. “He's been a legislator. He understands the legislative process. So he knows how to get things done and that's what we need. We need to get things done for this country. The voters that I talk to really want to see forward progress. He also has D.C. influence.”
Gubernatorial candidate and businessman Jeff Burningham used the announcement to further emphasize that he is a political outsider.
“The congressman has held political office since I was a baby,” Burningham said in a statement. “We need new leadership and fresh ideas. We need a governor who is politically unentangled, who doesn’t owe anyone any favors, and will do the right thing for Utah.”
Sonja Hutson covers politics for KUER. Follow them on Twitter @SonjaHutson