SALT LAKE CITY — John Swallow easily grabbed the win in his bid for Utah attorney general, besting Democratic Weber County Attorney Dee Smith by a margin of 65 percent to 30 percent Tuesday night.
"Our economy is being stifled by federal overreach, and it is dragging the heavy anchor of over-regulation of our state and our businesses," Swallow said Tuesday night in his victory speech. "As our attorney general, I will work to stop that."
Swallow has waited in the wings to run for the state's top law enforcement post since Attorney General Mark Shurtleff appointed him as his chief deputy in 2009. Shurtleff decided not to run again after three terms in office.
Smith conceded the race a few hours after the polls closed and said it was hard-fought given the challenges encountered along the way.
"We did the best we could with the limitations that we had," he said earlier in the evening. "I feel like I ran a clean race and focused on the issues and what I would bring to the office. … When I was asked to run for attorney general, I already told them I had my dream job."
Swallow, who turns 50 on Saturday, said his management style will be different from that of his former boss. He said he would not be as involved in driving state policy on issues such as illegal immigration as Shurtleff was.
Republican John Dougall beat Democrat Mark Sage in the race for state auditor, 65 percent to 30 percent. Dougall, who spent the past decade as a state lawmaker, defeated the longtime incumbent, Auston Johnson, in the June GOP primary, promising to be a more aggressive watchdog over government spending.
In the race for state treasurer, incumbent Richard Ellis, a Republican, won in his bid for a second term, getting 67 percent of the votes to Democrat Christopher Stout's 28 percent.
During the campaign, Swallow has sounded as much as a congressional candidate as he did an attorney general candidate. He has maintained he intends to be vocal about what he sees as federal intrusions into people's lives.
As chief deputy, Swallow doubled the legal team working on Utah's effort to gain control of federal land in the state. He also worked on the national court case to overturn Obamacare.
Swallow said he would use the resources and tools available to push back against Washington.1 comment on this story
Swallow raised more than $1.2 million, including $250,000 from a super PAC tied to national GOP strategist Karl Rove. He made no apologies for the sum or the six-figure Republican State Leadership Committee contribution. The money, he said, won't entitle anyone to special favors or preferences.
Swallow has never been a prosecutor, but as chief deputy he helped manage the state's largest law firm. He has represented state agencies, worked with the governor and the Legislature, and served on the Constitutional Defense Council. He also worked as a litigator and shareholder in a Salt Lake law firm.
Swallow served six years in the Utah Legislature and ran two failed campaigns for Congress in 2002 and 2004.