WaPo Spotlights Utah AG Race

The July arrests of John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff have cast a long shadow on this year’s attorney general campaign. 

Reports Hunter Schwarz:

Utah’s attorneys general tend to have less than ideal post-job prospects.

The last two to hold that office, Republicans Mark Shurtleff and John Swallow, have been accused of accepting gifts and soliciting bribes from people in exchange for favorable treatment. They each face 30 years in prison if convicted.

Both have denied the allegations, but their July arrests have cast a long shadow on this year’s attorney general campaign. Current Attorney General Sean Reyes (R), appointed by Gov. Gary Herbert (R) in December after Swallow resigned, is running against Charles Stormont (D), who’s worked in the attorney general’s office on civil cases.

Stormont said he believes the “profound imbalance” of political power in such a heavily Republican state means there’s a higher chance of corruption occurring, and he hopes the same voters who gave Mitt Romney a resounding in-state victory in 2012 will look past party labels. “The attorney general really should be a nonpartisan office,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post. Utah last had a Democratic attorney general in 2001.

But Reyes, who ran against Swallow in the 2012 Republican primary, doesn’t think the party’s in-state dominance breeds any sort of culture of corruption. “I think the attorney general’s office was an isolated incident,” he said. “That was, I believe, an anomaly.”