Utah Governor Gary Herbert says he’ll be voting for Donald Trump

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Governor Gary Herbert has announced he will be voting Donald Trump in the November election.

At his monthly news conference on KUED, Governor Herbert was asked by FOX 13 who he would be voting for.

"I am voting for Donald Trump," the governor replied, citing his longtime friendship with Trump's Vice-Presidential pick, Indiana Governor Mike Pence.

"I think he's a great individual," Herbert said of Pence. "I think he'll bring some stability."

He also said he supported Trump's ability to select Supreme Court nominees and his stance on state's rights.

Pressed about Trump's recent statements and pronouncements on campaign stops, the governor said he was not an "apologist" for the GOP presidential nominee.

"Some of the things people like about Mr. Trump are his unvarnished comments," Herbert said. "Clearly, what pops into his head and comes out of his mouth are not filtered. People find that refreshing. At the same time, that's off-putting to others."

The governor expressed hope that Trump would mellow over time.

"How you campaign is not necessarily how you govern," the governor said, adding: "All the candidates say things I don't agree with."

Governor Gary Herbert at his monthly KUED news conference on August 11, 2016. (Courtesy KUED)

Governor Gary Herbert at his monthly KUED news conference on August 11, 2016. (Courtesy KUED)

The Utah Democratic Party blasted the governor for his comments.

"Unbelievable. Shameful. Appalling. Those are just some of the words that came to mind when I heard Gary Herbert confirm his plan to vote for Donald Trump in November," Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon said in a statement. "Governor Herbert has shown once again that he prioritizes politics and his own party over what is best for the people of Utah."

Utah GOP Chairman James Evans put out a response, mocking the Democrats.

"Unbelievable. Shameful. Appalling. Those are just some of the words that came to mind when I heard Democratic candidate for Governor Mike Weinholtz was planning to vote for Hillary Clinton in November," he wrote. "Mike has shown once again that he prioritizes politics and his own party over what is best for the people of Utah."

The governor is breaking with other high-profile Utah Republicans who have rejected Trump, including his own Lt. Governor, Spencer Cox (who told FOX 13 on Tuesday he still was not planning to vote for Trump). Others include former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative and BYU graduate, launched his independent bid in Salt Lake City with the backing of some GOP establishment.

Hillary Clinton recently has begun making a play for red state Utah, citing the governor in an op-ed she published in the LDS Church-owned Deseret News. The governor said he was flattered by her remarks, but was sticking with Trump.