Utah Attorney General special election, 2014

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Utah Attorney General Special Election

Primary Date:
June 24, 2014

General Election Date:
November 4, 2014

November 4 Election Winner:
Sean D. Reyes Republican Party
Incumbent prior to election:
Sean D. Reyes Republican Party
SeanReyes.jpg

Utah Attorney General Special Election
Attorney General

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The Utah Attorney General special election took place on November 4, 2014. Incumbent Sean D. Reyes (R) was appointed in December 2013 by Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert. Reyes won in a special election against Democratic candidate Charles Stormont, Libertarian Party candidate Andrew McCullough, Constitution Party candidate Gregory Hansen and independent candidate Leslie Curtis. Reyes won election to the remaining two years of Swallow's term with a regular election scheduled for November 2016.

Republicans won the previous four races for attorney general by at least 18 percent, according to results in the past elections section. Reyes and Stormont argued issues including ethics, same-sex marriage and the state's anti-polygamy law during a debate in October as summarized in the debates section.

Utah is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. Parties decide who may vote. Registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters may vote in the Democratic primary. Only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary.[1]

Candidates

General election

Republican Party Sean Reyes - Incumbent Green check mark transparent.png[2]
Democratic Party Charles Stormont - Lawyer in the Utah Attorney General's office[3]
Libertarian Party Andrew McCullough - Libertarian candidate[3]
Constitution Party Gregory Hansen - Constitution Party candidate[2]
Independent Leslie Curtis - American Independent Party candidate[2]

Results

General election

Attorney General of Utah, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngSean Reyes Incumbent 63.1% 355,275
     Democratic Charles Stormont 27% 151,967
     Libertarian Andrew McCullough 4% 22,333
     Constitution Gregory Hansen 3.3% 18,722
     Independent Leslie Curtis 2.7% 15,108
Total Votes 563,405
Election Results via Utah Lieutenant Governor.

Race background

Special election circumstances
See also: John Swallow's controversies

In 2012, then-Chief Deputy Attorney General John Swallow was elected as Attorney General. Almost immediately Swallow was beset by scandal and controversy, leading to ethics and elections law investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Utah State Legislature. These events eventually caused Swallow to resign on December 3, 2013.

In his place, Utah Governor appointed current incumbent Republican Sean Reyes, who took office on December 30, 2014. Reyes came second in the heated 2012 Republican primary won by Swallow. Reyes ran to retain the office in a special election on November 4, 2014. He did not face any contentious campaigning in the primary in 2014 as he run unopposed for the nomination.

Reyes's major-party opposition in November was Democrat Charles Stormont, a lawyer in the Attorney General's office. Three other candidates faced Reyes and Stormont in November: Libertarian Andrew McCullough, Constitution Party candidate Gregory Hansen and American Independent Party candidate Leslie Curtis. Reyes won election to the remaining two years of Swallow's term.

Debates

October 1 debate

Sean Reyes (R) and Charles Stormont (D) discussed the office's recent past, same-sex marriage and polygamy during a debate in Provo. Reyes noted that when he was appointed to the attorney general's office, he "inherited an office racked with scandal and controversy." His solutions to these issues included improving salaries and requiring supervisors to participate in detailed evaluations to ensure integrity. Stormont countered that the office remained largely the same as when John Swallow held the office and promoted an ethics hotline that would allow citizens to blow the whistle on corrupt elected officials. Both candidates agreed on campaign finance limits and that they would not take campaign donations from sources that could create conflicts of interest.[4]

Reyes and Stormont heatedly discussed their stances on defending the state's anti-polygamy law and same-sex marriage ban. Reyes argued that the state needed to appeal a federal court's decision to strike down part of an anti-polygamy law, while Stormont called an appeal a waste of money over a law that is largely unenforced. Stormont also argued that the state should not waste time appealing higher court decisions on same-sex marriage as the U.S. Supreme Court will likely reject any appeal. Reyes stated that the attorney general has a duty to defend the state's laws in higher court.[4]

Past elections

2012

Attorney General of Utah General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Dee W. Smith 30.1% 269,893
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Swallow 64.6% 579,118
     Libertarian W. Andrew McCullough 5.3% 47,347
Total Votes 896,358
Election Results via Utah Lieutenant Governor (dead link).

2008

Attorney General, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMark Shurtleff Incumbent 69.3% 650,147
     Democratic Gregory G. Skordas 26.6% 249,492
     Libertarian W. Andrew McCullough 4.1% 38,321
Total Votes 937,960

2004

Attorney General, 2004
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMark Shurtleff Incumbent 68.5% 607,393
     Democratic Gregory G. Skordas 28.3% 250,820
     Libertarian W. Andrew McCullough 3.2% 28,202
Total Votes 886,415

2000

Attorney General, 2000
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngMark Shurtleff 57.5% 435,998
     Democratic Reed. M Richards 39.5% 299,683
     Libertarian W. Andrew McCullough 2.9% 22,273
Total Votes 757,954


Voter turnout

Political scientist Michael McDonald's United States Elections Project studied voter turnout in the 2014 election by looking at the percentage of eligible voters who headed to the polls. McDonald used voting-eligible population (VEP), or the number of eligible voters independent of their current registration status, to calculate turnout rates in each state on November 4. He also incorporated ballots cast for the highest office in each state into his calculation. He estimated that 82,596,338 ballots were cast in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, representing 36.4 percent of the VEP.[5] By comparison, 61.6 percent of VEP voted in the 2008 presidential election and 58.2 percent of VEP voted in the 2012 presidential election.[6]

Quick facts

  • According to PBS Newshour, voter turnout in the 2014 midterms was the lowest since the 1942 midterms, which took place during the nation's involvement in World War II.[7]
  • Forty-three states and the District of Columbia failed to surpass 50 percent turnout in McDonald's analysis.
  • The three states with the lowest turnout according to McDonald's analysis were Indiana (28 percent), Texas (28.5 percent) and Utah (28.8 percent).
  • Maine (59.3 percent), Wisconsin (56.9 percent) and Alaska (55.3 percent) were the three states with the highest turnout.
  • There were only 12 states that increased voter turnout in 2014 compared to the 2010 midterm elections.[8]
Voter turnout rates, 2014
State Total votes for top office  % voter eligible population Top statewide office up for election Size of lead (Raw votes) Size of lead (%)
Alabama 1,200,000 33.5 Governor 320,319 27.2
Alaska 290,000 55.3 Governor 4,004 1.6
Arizona 1,550,000 34.4 Governor 143,951 12.5
Arkansas 875,000 41.2 Governor 118,664 14
California 7,750,000 31.8 Governor 1,065,748 17.8
Colorado 2,025,000 53.0 Governor 50,395 2.4
Connecticut 1,089,880 42.3 Governor 26,603 2.5
Delaware 234,038 34.4 Attorney general 31,155 13.6
District of Columbia 150,000 30.3 Mayor 27,934 19
Florida 5,951,561 42.7 Governor 66,127 1.1
Georgia 2,575,000 38.2 Governor 202,685 8
Hawaii 366,125 36.2 Governor 45,323 12.4
Idaho 440,000 39.1 Governor 65,852 14.9
Illinois 3,550,000 39.5 Governor 171,900 4.9
Indiana 1,350,000 28.0 Secretary of state 234,978 17.8
Iowa 1,150,000 50.6 Governor 245,548 21.8
Kansas 875,000 42.8 Governor 33,052 3.9
Kentucky 1,440,000 44.2 U.S. Senate 222,096 15.5
Louisiana 1,472,039 43.8 U.S. Senate 16,401 1.1
Maine 625,000 59.3 Governor 29,820 4.9
Maryland 1,750,000 41.9 Governor 88,648 6.1
Massachusetts 2,150,000 43.9 Governor 40,361 1.9
Michigan 3,151,835 42.7 Governor 129,547 4.3
Minnesota 2,025,000 51.3 Governor 109,776 5.6
Mississippi 650,000 29.7 U.S. Senate 141,234 33
Missouri 1,450,000 32.3 Auditor 684,074 53.6
Montana 365,000 46.1 U.S. Senate 65,262 17.9
Nebraska 550,000 41.3 Governor 97,678 18.7
Nevada 600,000 31.8 Governor 255,793 46.7
New Hampshire 500,000 48.8 Governor 24,924 5.2
New Jersey 1,825,000 30.4 N/A N/A N/A
New Mexico 550,000 38.3 Governor 73,868 14.6
New York 3,900,000 28.8 Governor 476,252 13.4
North Carolina 2,900,000 40.7 U.S. Senate 48,511 1.7
North Dakota 248,670 43.8 U.S. House At-large seat 42,214 17.1
Ohio 3,150,000 36.2 Governor 933,235 30.9
Oklahoma 825,000 29.8 Governor 122,060 14.7
Oregon 1,500,000 52 Governor 59,029 4.5
Pennsylvania 3,500,000 36.1 Governor 339,261 9.8
Rhode Island 325,000 41.7 Governor 14,346 4.5
South Carolina 1,246,301 34.8 Governor 179,089 14.6
South Dakota 279,412 44.5 Governor 124,865 45.1
Tennessee 1,400,000 29.1 Governor 642,214 47.5
Texas 4,750,000 28.5 Governor 957,973 20.4
Utah 550,000 28.8 Attorney general 173,819 35.2
Vermont 193,087 38.8 Governor 2,095 1.1
Virginia 2,200,000 36.7 U.S. Senate 16,727 0.8
Washington 2,050,000 41.6 N/A N/A N/A
West Virginia 460,000 31.8 U.S. Senate 124,667 27.6
Wisconsin 2,425,000 56.9 Governor 137,607 5.7
Wyoming 168,390 38.7 Governor 52,703 33.6
United States 82,596,338 36.4

Note: Information from the United States Elections Project was last updated on November 19, 2014. The results in this table draw from unofficial results as of November 12, 2014.

Key deadlines

Deadline Event
March 20, 2014 Primary filing deadline
May 30, 2014 Third-party filing deadline
June 24, 2014 Primary election
September 5, 2014 Write-in candidate filing deadline
November 4, 2014 General election
November 24, 2014 State board of canvassers meeting
January 5, 2015 Inauguration day for state executives elected in November

Ballotpedia reports

To learn more about developments in these races, check out the following news articles from Ballotpedia:

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See also

External links

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References