Decrying public opinion polls as an instrument to administer the law, Attorney General David L. Wilkinson announced his intention Wednesday to seek a third term in office.
"I place little stock in public opinion polls as they relate to justice," Wilkinson said during ceremonies in the State Capitol.Wilkinson, a Republican, will square off against one of two Democratic opponents either L. Zane Gill or Paul Van Dam, whoever emerges as the party's candidate. The attorney general may also face an intraparty challenge from Public Safety Commissioner John T. Nielsen, who is considering running.
Wilkinson, flanked by his wife, Tricia, and their young son, Andrew, listed his accomplishments over the past four years. He said both he and his deputies named last August's execution of Hi Fi Shop killer Pierre Dale Selby after 13 years as one of the office's most significant achievements. He also cited a victory before the U.S. Supreme Court in a dispute with the federal government over the ownership of the bottom of Utah Lake. Finally, he named the codifying of a single set of administrative procedures for all state agencies.
The attorney general said he is also proud of his office's efforts to combat child abuse, and he mentioned specifically the conviction of Lehi sex offender Allan B. Hadfield, who was prosecuted by Wilkinson's office.
He also defended his use of more than $700,000 in taxpayer money to defend Utah's controversial cable TV law, which sought to regulate sex and nudity on cable. Public opinion polls showed many Utahns thought the attorney general should drop the case, especially in the final round when Wilkinson took the case on an unsuccessful excursion to the U.S. Supreme Court at additional expense.
Wilkinson said the Legislature passed the statute (although he helped draft it), and he was only doing his job in defending it.
"For me to pick and choose what laws I defend is to encroach on the legislative domain," Wilkinson said.