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Swallow vs. Reyes: A Heated GOP Race for Utah's Next Attorney General

For the first time in more than a decade, Utahns will have a new Attorney General after this November’s election. Three-term Republican Mark Shurtleff is stepping aside, and two other GOP contenders are looking for the chance to fill his shoes. Only one will make it past the upcoming June 26 primary and onto the final ballot, and as Jessica Gail reports, it’s been a hard-fought race.

There is a lot of finger pointing going on between John Swallow and Sean Reyes. Both are competing to be the next Utah Attorney General, in a race that has generated some bitterness in recent weeks, with each accusing the other of being behind false attacks.

Swallow is no stranger to the Attorney General’s office, having served as Chief Deputy A.G. since 2009. He was also elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 1996.

On the other hand, Reyes wants voters to know he has never been a politician. Instead, his experience comes from working 15 years at the largest law firm in the state as a small claims judge and President of the Minority Bar association.

Both men proudly declare themselves conservative champions of the law. But their views on what the state’s highest priorities should be are slightly different.

Swallow: “The biggest issue that I really have the most passion for is developing access to our public lands so that we can create jobs and create revenues so we can start to say no to the federal government when they give us money.”

Sitting down at Lambs Grill in downtown Salt Lake City, Swallow explained if elected he would expand on much of the work Mark Shurtleff has already started. However, when it comes to immigration, they have different views:

“I won’t be as proactive on the immigration issue as Mark has been. I will leave the policy to the legislature a little more and I will enforce our laws.”

At the Venture Outdoors Festival in Millcreek Saturday Sean Reyes met with voters and laid out his top priories if elected:

“One is to protect Utah’s citizens and families. Protect them from violent crimes, from drugs, gangs, and cyber bullying. My second priority but of equal importance is to protect the business priority. Investment fraud accounts for $1.5 to 5 billion worth of losses every year in the state of Utah. The other is to represent the state of Utah when the Federal Government overreaches.”

Reyes adds if elected, he would keep the state’s power in check as well: “In our zeal to protect children...and I want to be clear on the record I think crimes against children are the most heinous crimes imaginable but we can’t let the pendulum swing so far the other way that we allow the state to prematurely remove children from their homes and their parents.”

Whoever wins the June 26 primary will go on to face the Democratic candidate, Weber county Attorney Dee Smith in the general election.