If we commit to working hard and put the office first, the campaign will take care of itself. —Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes
SALT LAKE CITY — Attorney General Sean Reyes walked one door down from his office in the Capitol to file for election Wednesday.
It's not an office he expected to have after losing to fellow Republican John Swallow in the 2012 primary election. But then Swallow's political life unraveled, causing him to resign in December.
Gov. Gary Herbert appointed Reyes to the job, and now he's running to fill the two years remaining on Swallow's term.
Reyes said he wants to continue regaining Utahns' trust in the attorney general's office and ensure resources are used properly. He said he wants to protect good businesses and let bad businesses know Utah is not the place for them.
"If we commit to working hard and put the office first, the campaign will take care of itself," Reyes said, adding that doesn't mean he won't be out trying to win votes.
A Utah House special investigation revealed the Swallow campaign was fraught with hidden money and promises to take care of certain industries, particularly payday lenders.
Reyes said he's going to "self-impose" strict transparency rules and vet the sources of campaign contributions. He said he won't take money from any person or business the office is investigating or has a case against.
"We want to win all of our cases, but we want to win doing it the right way. That includes taking care of and protecting documents and emails, and making sure there's a process for that," he said.
Reyes in stepped into the office in the middle of some high-profile court cases, including the defense of the state's ban on same-sex marriage. He said he's had several eye-openers in his nearly three months on the job.
Reyes said he didn't realize the breadth of cases the attorney general's office handles and how the decisions he now has to make affect people around the state. He also said he had doubts about the quality and caliber of the attorneys in the office.
"But as I've worked with them over the last several months, I am convinced that we have, bar none, some of the very best lawyers in the state and in the nation," Reyes said. "Now it's just building on that core and making sure top to bottom we have that same level of expertise and professional attitude."
Reyes has the advantage of heading into the race as the incumbent, even though he was appointed. The winner in November would face election again in 2016.
To date, Democrat Charles A. Stormont, an assistant attorney general, and civil rights lawyer Andrew W. McCullough, a Libertarian, have filed to run for the office.