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Utah Attorney General 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
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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]

Campaign finance

Comprehensive donor information for this election has been collected by Follow the Money. Based on available campaign finance records, the candidates raised a raised a total of $624,376 during the election. This information was last updated on March 27, 2015.[5]

Campaign Contribution Totals
Candidate Office Result Contributions
Sean Reyes Republican Party Utah Attorney General Won $466,215
Charles Stormont Democratic Party Utah Attorney General Defeated $151,355
Andrew McCullough Libertarian Party Utah Attorney General Defeated $6,417
Gregory Hansen Constitution Party Utah Attorney General Defeated $355
Leslie Curtis Independent Utah Attorney General Defeated $34
Grand Total Raised $624,376

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 81,687,059 ballots were cast in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, representing 35.9 percent of the VEP.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]
  • 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 Texas (28.3 percent), Tennessee (28.6 percent) and Indiana (28.8 percent).
  • Maine (58.5 percent), Wisconsin (56.5 percent) and Colorado (54.5 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.[9]
Voter turnout rates, 2014
State Total votes counted  % voter eligible population Top statewide office up for election Size of lead (Raw votes) Size of lead (%)
Alabama 1,191,274 33.2 Governor 320,319 27.2
Alaska 285,431 54.4 Governor 4,004 1.6
Arizona 1,537,671 34.1 Governor 143,951 12.5
Arkansas 852,642 40.1 Governor 118,664 14
California 7,513,972 30.8 Governor 1,065,748 17.8
Colorado 2,080,071 54.5 Governor 50,395 2.4
Connecticut 1,096,509 42.5 Governor 26,603 2.5
Delaware 234,038 34.4 Attorney General 31,155 13.6
District of Columbia 177,176 35.8 Mayor 27,934 19
Florida 6,026,802 43.3 Governor 66,127 1.1
Georgia 2,596,947 38.5 Governor 202,685 8
Hawaii 369,554 36.5 Governor 45,323 12.4
Idaho 445,307 39.6 Governor 65,852 14.9
Illinois 3,680,417 40.9 Governor 171,900 4.9
Indiana 1,387,622 28.8 Secretary of State 234,978 17.8
Iowa 1,142,284 50.2 Governor 245,548 21.8
Kansas 887,023 43.4 Governor 33,052 3.9
Kentucky 1,435,868 44 U.S. Senate 222,096 15.5
Louisiana 1,472,039 43.8 U.S. Senate 16,401 1.1
Maine 616,996 58.5 Governor 29,820 4.9
Maryland 1,733,177 41.5 Governor 88,648 6.1
Massachusetts 2,186,789 44.6 Governor 40,361 1.9
Michigan 3,188,956 43.2 Governor 129,547 4.3
Minnesota 1,992,613 50.5 Governor 109,776 5.6
Mississippi 631,858 28.9 U.S. Senate 141,234 33
Missouri 1,426,303 31.8 Auditor 684,074 53.6
Montana 373,831 47.3 U.S. Senate 65,262 17.9
Nebraska 552,115 41.5 Governor 97,678 18.7
Nevada 547,349 29 Governor 255,793 46.7
New Hampshire 495,565 48.4 Governor 24,924 5.2
New Jersey 1,955,042 32.5 N/A N/A N/A
New Mexico 512,805 35.7 Governor 73,868 14.6
New York 3,930,310 29 Governor 476,252 13.4
North Carolina 2,939,767 41.2 U.S. Senate 48,511 1.7
North Dakota 255,128 45 U.S. House At-large seat 42,214 17.1
Ohio 3,149,876 36.2 Governor 933,235 30.9
Oklahoma 824,831 29.8 Governor 122,060 14.7
Oregon 1,541,782 53.5 Governor 59,029 4.5
Pennsylvania 3,495,866 36 Governor 339,261 9.8
Rhode Island 329,212 42.2 Governor 14,346 4.5
South Carolina 1,261,611 35.2 Governor 179,089 14.6
South Dakota 282,291 44.9 Governor 124,865 45.1
Tennessee 1,374,065 28.6 Governor 642,214 47.5
Texas 4,727,208 28.3 Governor 957,973 20.4
Utah 577,973 30.2 Attorney General 173,819 35.2
Vermont 193,087 38.8 Governor 2,095 1.1
Virginia 2,194,346 36.6 U.S. Senate 16,727 0.8
Washington 2,123,901 43.1 N/A N/A N/A
West Virginia 451,498 31.2 U.S. Senate 124,667 27.6
Wisconsin 2,410,314 56.5 Governor 137,607 5.7
Wyoming 168,390 39.3 Governor 52,703 33.6

Note: Information from the United States Elections Project was last updated on December 16, 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