In an election year functioning in a seemingly constant state of enmity, one in which few politicians and institutions have been unscathed from attacks, the two rival candidates vying to become Utah’s next governor are an outlier.
The Republican lieutenant governor, Spencer Cox, and the Democratic candidate, Chris Peterson, appeared together in a series of new public service announcements promoting civility in politics.
In the ads, which were shared by the rivals on social media Tuesday, the two candidates stand about 6 feet apart, with Cox wearing a red tie and an elephant button and Peterson in a blue tie with a donkey button.
In one ad, Cox says, “While I think you should vote for me,” before Peterson interjects, “Yeah, but really you should vote for me.”
Cox then concludes: “There are some things we can both agree on.”
The candidates, who are both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said that they wanted to set an example of how politicians should conduct themselves.
“We can debate issues without degrading each other’s character,” says Peterson, a first-time candidate and a law professor at the University of Utah.
Cox adds, “We can disagree without hating each other.”
In another one of the ads, Cox and Peterson both pledged to accept the outcome of the presidential election, something that President Donald Trump has repeatedly balked at when asked in interviews and in his first debate with his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Whether you vote by mail or in person, we will fully support the results of the upcoming presidential election, regardless of the outcome,” Peterson says.
Cox echoes his opponent.
“Although we sit on different sides of the aisle we are both committed to American civility and a peaceful transition of power,” he says.
Peterson and Cox conclude the ads by saying in unison that they approve the messages.