Jordan Allred, Deseret News
An assistant Utah attorney general who manages a Texas ranch and owns a Salt Lake cafe announced his candidacy for the top job Tuesday.
I can tell you from a personal level that we need to do more. I have some great ideas for how we could reshape the office. —Charles A. Stormont

SALT LAKE CITY — An assistant attorney general who manages a Texas ranch and owned a Salt Lake cafe wants to be the state's top law enforcer.

Democrat Charles A. Stormont filed Tuesday to run for Utah attorney general, saying the office needs a fresh pair of hands after the yearlong John Swallow scandal.

"The people of Utah deserve better than they have been getting out of their attorney general's office," he said. "Party politics and favoritism have been driving the leaders of the attorney general's office for too long."

Stormont, 37, works on civil litigation for the Utah Department of Transportation. He joined the office in 2008. He said he considers himself a public servant, not a politician.

Attorney General Sean Reyes will announce his candidacy Wednesday, said campaign spokeswoman Lee Rech. Gov. Gary Herbert appointed Reyes, a Republican, to the post after Swallow resigned in December.

Reyes has made some changes in the office since taking over, but Stormont says more could be done.

"I can tell you from a personal level that we need to do more. I have some great ideas for how we could reshape the office," he said.

Stormont has spent half his career in public service, which he said is a significant difference between him and Reyes. He said he intends to be a lawyer who applies the law fairly and properly.

Born in Houston,, Stormont graduated from Davidson College and the University of Virginia law school. He worked for a Washington, D.C., law firm until moving to Utah to be closer to his wife's family. He and Valerie have a daughter and a son.

Stormont manages his family's 6,000-acre farm and ranch in Texas. The Stormonts also owned Three Forks Cafe, which closed at the end of last year.

"That's part of who I am and what defines me," he said of running the ranch.

A Democrat hasn't held the attorney general's office since 2000 and might have an opportunity to retake it given the past year under Republican control. Stormont said he hopes people remember the good job Jan Graham and Paul Van Dam did during their times on the job.

"Whether the party makes a difference or not, I don't know," Stormont said. "I really hope the people look at the choices they have and recognize the differences."

Civil rights attorney Andrew McCullough, a Libertarian, has also filed to run for attorney general.

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