The race for the Utah Attorney General’s office has picked up quite a bit of press attention in the past week, after QSaltLake broke the story of Facebook, Inc. donating $10,000 to Sean Reyes’ campaign. This race is also very important, as the Attorney General is the elected official who makes the decisions about proceeding with Utah’s defense of Amendment 3 and other similar cases.
I have attempted to speak with the three major candidates for this office: current AG Sean Reyes, the Democratic candidate Charles Stormont, and the Libertarian candidate Andrew McCullough. I approached Mr. Reyes in Denver, following the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on the Kitchen v. Herbert case, where he declined to answer my questions. I sat down and interviewed both Mr. Stormont and Mr. McCullough (separately) at length over the summer for different articles in QSaltLake.
After my conversations (and attempted conversation), I have a couple of observations to make. First and foremost: Sean Reyes is a jackass who is utterly undeserving of holding elected office in the United States of America. This goes far beyond his decision to defend Utah’s discriminatory Amendment 3, although that is a big part of it. He has wasted hundreds of thousands of Utah taxpayers’ dollars defending institutionalized bigotry, and he’s done it with remarkable incompetence! Additionally he’s asked for court intervention to invalidate legally ordered adoptions and create further emotional and financial harm to Utah families.
Stormont and McCullough, though, have given us all much to consider in this race. Both have gone on the record with their opposition to the continued defense of Amendment 3, both have expressed a commitment to reforming the Attorney General’s office. McCullough goes further, expressing open opposition to the continued militarization of police and fighting to end the so-called “war on drugs.” Andrew McCullough is a man of integrity, of sincerity, and of passion, and he would make a great Attorney General for the State of Utah.
He is not, in his own words, running to win. He is firmly convinced that he and Stormont have the same (zero) chance of beating Reyes in the general election. His point is to elevate the conversation, to bring new ideas to the table and to open voters’ eyes to the reality of life in our GOP-dominated state. I have nothing but respect and admiration for his commitment to justice and his willingness to put himself through another campaign in order to help educate.
That, however, was the deciding factor for me. Admittedly, Stormont is at best a long shot, but the optimist in me has to hold out hope that sooner or later the voters in this state will recognize good ideas and a commitment to fairness, equality and justice. Mr. Stormont has advanced a number of ideas in this campaign, most notably his call for the creation of an independent ethics commission to investigate allegations of impropriety by elected officials and government employees, and his call to an end of wasteful litigation such as the defense of Amendment 3 and the suit to take control of lands from the federal government.
It is time the Utah Attorney General’s office was managed for what it is: The people’s law firm. For far too long it has been a wretched hive of scum and villainy where dark money and shady deals are the norm. We need an Attorney General who is ready, willing and able to turn things around and restore the public faith in the office.
That is why I have made the decision to support and endorse Charles Stormont for Utah Attorney General in 2014.