John Swallow

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John Swallow
John Swallow.jpg
Candidate for
Attorney General of Utah
Prior offices
Utah Chief Deputy Attorney General
December 2009-present
Bachelor'sBrigham Young University
J.D.Brigham Young University Law School
Personal website
Campaign website
John Swallow campaign logo
John Swallow is the Utah Chief Deputy Attorney General and 2012 Republican candidate for Attorney General of Utah. He will face two challengers in the general election on November 6, 2012.


Swallow was raised in St. George and on his family's rural alfalfa farm, where he got an early education about Utah's and environmental issues.[1] Swallow went on to attend Brigham Young University for his undergraduate studies, and remained there to pursue a J.D. He excelled at BYU law school, gaining membership to the Law Review. Upon graduating from BYU in 1990, he began his career in commercial litigation as an attorney at the firm of Scalley, Reading, Bates, Hansen & Rasmussen. Swallow's success as an attorney earned him appointment as a Judge Pro Tem for the Third District Court and Chair of the Business Section of the Utah State Bar.[2]

Swallow's credentials in the private legal sector include a stint managing litigation as corporate general counsel to a Utah-based dietary supplement company, and establishing his own law practice covering business, real estate, financial, government and corporate matters.[2]


  • B.S., Brigham Young University (1987)
  • J.D., Brigham Young University (1990)

Political career

Chief Deputy Attorney General 2009-present

Swallow was chosen in 2009 to serve under current attorney general Mark Shurtleff as chief deputy attorney general, overseeing the civil division. As deputy, he has spearheaded the state's legal land battles against the federal government, and most prominently, the current battle to strike down Obamacare. His legacy includes expanding the office through the creation of the Public Lands Litigation Section. In a Feb 13 statement following announcement of his 2012 bid to replace Shurtleff as AG Swallow said "I have seen the federal government's intrusion into our lives at almost every level and am committed to putting an end to it."[3]

Utah House of Representatives 1996-2002

Swallow entered politics in 1996 when he won election to his first of an eventual three terms in the Utah House of Representatives. In the legislature, John served as a Regional Whip, Chair of the Public Utilities and Technology Committee, on the Administrative Rules Review Committee, and the Revenue and Taxation Standing Committee.

During his three terms, Swallow championed conservative social causes such as preventing the passage of a bill to allow non-married couples to adopt children, and fiscal causes cutting taxes. He was named 2000 Utah Taxpayer Advocate of the Year by the Utah Taxpayers’ Association for his sponsorship of one of the biggest tax cuts in Utah history. He also advocated strongly and effectively for 2nd Amendment rights, winning favor with the National Rifle Association.

In 2002 and 2004, John ran for the United States Congress, securing the Republican Party nomination both times but ultimately losing the general elections.


The 2012 Republican primary race between Reyes and Swallow was called "one of the dirtiest in years." Organized attacks by SuperPACs were mobilized against both candidates in the week leading up to the June 26 election, spilling over into the candidate debates, and resulting in at least one defamation suit, from Reyes, who accused Swallow of working illegally "in concert" with the Nevada based PAC "It's Now or Never, Inc," to run a smear campaign against him.[4]

Most of the PAC-sponsored anti-Reyes TV and radio spots claim that he lacks the rectitude and civility required of a high ranking public servant, based on a 1993 reckless driving episode and an alleged under the table cash contribution made to his political consultant. The latter accusation originated from a campaign finance reporting mishap in April involving a $5,000 reimbursement. The sum was "misreported"[5] as a contribution, according to Reyes, and the minor scandal was settled swiftly by the lieutenant governor's office, which oversees state elections. Reyes retaliated by suing Swallow for defamation of character, and by bringing up a disclosure incident from Swallow's 2002 congressional campaign, for which penalties were exacted, in contrast with his Treasurer's mistake from this year. "He knows he can't beat me when it comes to credentials, either legal credentials or leadership credentials, so he resorts to these kinds of bush league tactics, says Reyes. "[6] The UTE SuperPAC responsible for sending mailers and airing - predominantly radio - spots against Swallow accuses the deputy attorney general of being a target of a federal investigation for intervening in a Salt Lake County bid process.[5] Swallow's camp insists that the mailer in particular, which insinuated the candidate is poised for federal indictment, is a lie, and a "malicious hit piece and a potential violation of state law." [7]



See also: Utah attorney general election, 2012

Although Swallow did not secure the requisite 60% of the delegate vote at the Utah Republican Convention to avoid a primary, he easily defeated opponent Sean D. Reyes in the GOP primary contest on June 26, 2012. He defeated two other candidates in November's general election: Weber County Attorney Dee W. Smith (D), who ran unopposed for his party's nomination, and perennial attorney general candidate, Libertarian W. Andrew McCullough.[8][9]

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).

  • Primary-2012 Republican Race for Attorney General
    • With 68% of the vote, Swallow overtook Reyes for the Republican nomination.
Attorney General of Utah, Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJohn Swallow 68% 156,644
Sean D. Reyes 32% 73,868
Total Votes 230,512
Election Results via



  • Crime

The attorney general is the state's top law enforcement officer, and Swallow's platform on crime focuses heavily on ensuring that Utah's Sheriffs have the resources and latitude to enforce the state's laws, without interference from federal officers. "When they need backup to stand against federal overreach, they need to know that Utah’s Attorney General will be there," Swallow promised on his campaign website.[11] He also cites cracking down on financial crime and prosecuting sex predators as priorities.[11]

  • Healthcare reform

On Swallow's official campaign website, he cites overturning The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, as a priority for the office of attorney general. As chief deputy attorney general under Shurtleff, he played a leading role in Utah's joint effort with other Republican state attorneys general to challenge the "job-killing, unconstitutional"[11] mandates within the President's healthcare overhaul. “Not many people believed we could take the unconstitutional Obamacare bill all the way to the Supreme Court, but we did it.”[11]

  • Illegal Immigration

Swallow supports stringent "enforcement-only" laws regarding illegal immigration. Taken from from his campaign website, "Utah has felt the negative economic impact of the federal government’s neglect of our borders, and when Washington fails to act, it is left up to the states to protect our citizens and safeguard our economy."[11]

  • Second Amendment

Swallow is a staunch defender of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. "Utahn's are gun owners," he said. Swallow was given a top-rating by the National Rifle Association for his work supporting Second Amendment causes as a public servant. The NRA endorsed his bid for attorney general.[11]

  • Public Lands

If elected attorney general, Swallow pledges to continue the the work he has done as deputy to "keep the Sage Grouse from being listed as an endangered species,"[11] and to legally contest federal government policies which restrict access to public lands. He believes that Utah needs protection against overreaching laws like the federal Wild Lands Policy which he says are "killing jobs, hurting our economy, and robbing our children’s classrooms of greatly-needed funding."[11]


Swallow was endorsed by former primary election component Sean D. Reyes[12]14 Republican state attorneys general, including Utah's current, outgoing attorney general Mark Shurtleff.[13]


Swallow lives in Sandy, Utah with wife 0f 26 years, Suzanne Seader. He has five children: four daughters and one son.



Personal Contact:

Tel: 801.949.9450

Campaign Contact:

Tel: 801.759.1397
Email: Jessica Fawson at

See also

External links

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