A draft John T. Nielsen-for-attorney-general movement has been started and its chairman believes the state public safety commissioner will challenge Republican Attorney General David Wilkinson.
Nielsen, a Republican and former chief prosecutor for Salt Lake County, is deciding this week if he'll jump in the race. The filing deadline is Friday. "This is the most difficult decision I've made," he recently told the Deseret News.Wilkinson is seeking his third term as attorney general. A recent Dan Jones & Associates poll conducted for the Deseret News and KSL-TV shows that Nielsen would be a strong challenger to Wilkinson. Among all voters, Jones found Wilkinson was favored by 34 percent, Nielsen by 27 percent, 2 percent would vote for someone else and 36 percent didn't know who they'd vote for. Among Republicans only, it was 37-25 percent for Wilkinson.
Layne Meacham, chairman of the Nielsen-for-attorney general group, said a number of Republicans want Nielsen to run against Wilkinson. "I think he'll do it. We hope so. Frankly, we don't think Wilkinson can win against a Democrat this year," Meacham said. "Why do we think Republicans should have an alternative to Wilkinson? Because elections are most often decided by negatives, and Wilkinson has a ton of them." He then rattled off a list of what he says are problems with the attorney general's office, including spending upward of $700,000 on defending the unconstitutional cable TV regulation act.