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Swallow, Reyes head to primary fight for attorney general nod

Utah attorney general candidates Sean Reyes and John Swallow will face off in a June primary for the Republican nomination after neither met the 60 percent threshold they needed to win the nomination outright.

Both are seeking to replace Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who is not seeking a third term, and the winner of the June 26 primary will view against Democrat Dee Smith in November.

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Swallow, who had the backing of Shurtleff, received 54.5 percent of the vote to Reyes' 45.5 percent, throwing the contest to Republican primary voters.

Swallow argued that he had taking charge of the state's lawsuit against the federal government over the Democrats health care law, a point that has been questioned by critics. Nonetheless, Swallow said his experience was key.

"I've learned how to fight and how to win, in the courtroom, in the legislature and in the Attorney General's Office," Swallow said, adding that the attorney general was "not just a job for a lawyer, it's a job for a leader."

Reyes countered that he as the most qualified, noting his partnership in the state's largest law firm and time arguing before the state's highest court.

"I've had 15 years of experience winning cases in the courtroom," Reyes said. He said the attorney general was "not just someone who says he will fight or takes credit for a fight, but someone who has consistently fought."

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Dee Smith in the November general election.

-- Thomas Burr

@thomaswburr



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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