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Money dominates race for Utah attorney general

Some say Republican Swallow’s lopsided, record haul of $1.2M may lead to conflict of interest.

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"Sometimes we get elected officials who think they know it all and don’t spend time trying to find out what the answers should be," Valentine said. "John was a consensus builder who did what it took to get bills passed."

One of those bills was in 2002, when Swallow got a measure passed that required courthouses — which ban firearms — to have storage areas for licensed concealed weapons. Valentine said it was an example of keeping courts free of guns while respecting people’s rights to bear arms.

At a glance

Dee Smith

Party » Democrat

Age » 44

Family » Married 19 years. Four children

Occupation » Weber County’s attorney

Education » Bachelor’s degree in history, Weber State University; law degree, University of Utah

John Swallow

Party » Republican

Age » 49

Family » Married 27 years. Five children

Occupation » Chief deputy attorney general

Education » Bachelor’s in psychology, law degree, Brigham Young University

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It passed the Senate 25-3 and the House 59-10.

"I believe in working in a collaborative way," Swallow said. "I’m more of a behind-the-scenes guy who just wants to get things done."

Gang fight » Smith, a Weber State University graduate and a product of the University of Utah law school, has said it repeatedly.

"I don’t want to make my campaign about my opponent," he said, adding he wants people to focus on the work he’s done. Something he points to as one of his proudest achievements is getting a gang injunction in place for Ogden this year.

Lt. Scott Conley, who heads the gang unit in Ogden, said Smith was key in getting 80 percent of the more than 300 Ogden Trece gang members served with the civil injunction that restricts their ability to move and meet in the area.

"He’s been out on the streets with us," Conley said, "and he’s always looking for ways to get us what we need."

The injunction is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union as a violation of constitutional rights. Smith said it was necessary because gang activity was threatening the safety of the community.

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"We’ve done a lot of things up here to make this a better place to live," Smith said. "I think people appreciate I have their interests at heart."

Swallow said he’s felt the same sentiment acting as the state’s chief deputy attorney general.

"To be there fighting for Utah, fighting for people’s rights, has meant a lot to me," he said. "It’s what inspired me to run in my heart and it’s something I’ll never forget."


Twitter: @davemontero

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