Analysis: Sean Reyes in good position ahead of June primary matchup with David Leavitt

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Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is in good shape, both before GOP voters and financially, as he heads toward a June 30 primary with Utah County GOP Attorney David Leavitt.

A late March poll for 2 News by Y2 Analytics found Reyes has 53 percent support among Republican voters “likely” to cast a ballot in the primary, while Leavitt had 32 percent support.

Former AG John Swallow had 14 percent support, but was eliminated in the April state GOP convention.

Among those 4,000 delegates, Reyes came out first, with 57.5 percent of the vote. Leavitt came out second, 42.5 percent of the vote, and so the two face each other in the primary.

But Reyes’ largest strength is in money — a lot of it.

Reyes has spent some big bucks, and raised some big bucks: This year alone Reyes has raised $395,600. But he’s spent $267,600. He has around $130,000 in cash.

Leavitt, the younger brother of former GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt, has been small-timing it financially.

Leavitt has only around $28,000 in cash, after raising just over $31,000, $25,000 of which comes from the governor and Leavitt family businesses.

So, Reyes is ahead among GOP voters, came in first in the state convention, and has a lot more money than Leavitt.

Still, Reyes has had some bad press over the years, and it appears that Leavitt does have some support — among likely Republican voters and delegates.

Reyes has been criticized by his GOP and Democratic opponents for his fundraising.

And the AG certainly has taken some really big contributions from multi-level marketing firms (many of whom are always in the political fundraising mix in Utah).

Reyes’ biggest donor is the Republican Attorney General Association, $125,000. That’s the PAC of GOP AGs across the nation, that does fund raising across the nation.

Reyes re-election campaign spent $60,000 in a Deer Valley Montage fund raiser Jan. 27 — the start of the 2020 Utah legislative session. The Montage is an upscale ski resort at the top of Deer Valley.

He spent $20,000 at another Deer Valley “political event” a few weeks later, his financial reports show.

Reyes is running for the third time for AG. He was defeated by Swallow in the 2012 GOP AG primary. When Swallow had to resign because of scandals less than a year later, the state GOP and Republican Gov. Gary Herbert appointed Reyes to the state top law enforcement job.

Reyes then had to run in 2014 to serve out the rest of Swallow’s term, winning easily.

He then won re-election on his own in 2016, and now seeks his second full four-year term.

Reyes’ name was floated as a possible Federal Trade Commission appointee by President Donald Trump, but he didn’t get the job. Reyes reportedly also considered running for governor this year, but in a crowded GOP gubernatorial field, Reyes never got in, seeking re-election instead.

The winner of the GOP Reyes/Leavitt primary will face Democrat Greg Skordas, who won in the state Democratic convention, and Libertarian AG candidate Rudy Bautista.