Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Democrat Sim Gill ended the Republicans' one-term hold on the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office with his narrow defeat Tuesday of incumbent Lohra Miller in a rematch of the 2006 election.
In one of the more hotly contested races, Gill captured 52 percent of the vote to Miller's 44 percent, according the final but unofficial results.
Gill said his campaign was a bipartisan effort supported by Democrats and Republicans.
"We have the common sense solutions. We will work together to reach across the aisle," he said. "That is why we are finding the success that we are."
Gill, the chief prosecutor for Salt Lake City, promises a more collaborative District Attorney's Office. He said he intends to work closely with city government and local police departments.
"There will be one contact person for each mayor, which will be me," Gill said.
Miller, who did not publicly concede defeat late Tuesday, said she decided to run a positive campaign and accused Gill of "going another direction."
Gill focused on Miller's tenure being mired with difficulties, including a high-profile spat with veteran prosecutor Kent Morgan, as well as the prosecution of David "DJ" Bell and those accused of beating him. Miller defended her decisions in both instances, saying she had to go off of the facts that she had at the time and felt confident in her actions.
Miller said she was proud of what she was able to accomplish in her four years in office and stood by her decisions.
"I feel good about what I've done," she said.
Gill, who lost to Miller four years ago by a narrow margin of 4 percent, ran on a platform of restoring the public trust in what he perceived to be a "broken" district attorney's office. He said the headlines "spoke for themselves" when it came to Miller's time in office.
Gill said he also plans to expand mental-health courts and work with the Utah Department of Corrections on an inmate re-entry program that he says could save as much as $5 million per year.
Just a week before the election, Miller's office became the subject of two separate investigations by the county's human resources department amid allegations of electioneering and racism.
A report by the human resources department said a few employees within Miller's office felt there was "political pressure" to re-elect Miller and said county time and resources were being used to further Miller's cause.
Though it was ultimately determined that there was not any proof of such pressure, the negative publicity played a role in the race. Miller was vocal in her belief that Gill leveraged the allegations to his advantage.
"Sim has been pretty critical and pretty negative, and has run this race since he lost last time," Miller said.
For his part, Gill said it was just another demonstration of strife within an office that he said was already struggling with low morale. Gill said his experience as chief prosecutor for Salt Lake City will provide him with the tools to lead the much larger district attorney's office.
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