Who will replace Sean Reyes as Utah’s attorney general? Here are the candidates.

Five Republicans, two Democrats, a Libertarian and a United Utah Party candidate have filed to run in Utah’s 2024 election for attorney general.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) The office of the Utah Attorney General at the Capitol, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. Nine candidates are in the race to replace Sean Reyes in Utah's 2024 attorney general election.

After a decade in office and recent scrutiny over his associations and travel, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced in December that he would not seek reelection in 2024, opening the door for a host of candidates to enter the race for the Beehive State’s next top law enforcement official.

Five Republicans, two Democrats, a Libertarian and a United Utah Party candidate filed to run for the office. Here is a brief look at the candidates:

Rudy Bautista

Democratic candidate Rudy Bautista has been a criminal defense lawyer for 24 years and ran for attorney general in 2020 as the Libertarian candidate.

He is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, served in the merchant marine and earned his law degree from Brigham Young University. He has been involved in many high-profile criminal cases in recent years, including that of an Olympic gold medalist who pleaded guilty to sexual battery and a Layton man who pleaded guilty to killing his wife and in-laws.

During his 2020 campaign, Bautista said state mask mandates in schools and businesses violated citizens’ constitutional protections.

Derek Brown

Derek Brown is a lawyer, a former lobbyist with Lincoln-Hill Partners, a government consulting and lobbying firm, and a former chairman of the Utah Republican Party from 2019 to 2021. He served as a member of the Utah House of Representatives from 2010 to 2014, was legal counsel to former Sens. Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch, and was Sen. Mike Lee’s deputy chief of staff.

He received his law degree from Pepperdine University. As party chairman, Brown helped wipe out a significant amount of debt the state GOP had accrued and tried to unify the party during the end of President Donald Trump’s tenure. Brown closed his lobbyist registration after filing to run for office. Before that, his clients included 1-800 Contacts, eBay, Ancestry and a host of others.

David Carlson

David Carlson is currently an attorney in private practice after spending nine years at the Utah attorney general’s office, including working in the criminal justice division, the child protection division and the civil litigation division. He also served as city attorney for South Salt Lake City and North Ogden and was a prosecutor in Provo.

He earned his law degree from the University of Utah. In 2019, Carlson suffered a major heart attack, flipped his car and was pulled to safety by a group of West High students. He is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Trent E. Christensen

Trent Christensen is formerly the vice president of community development for Zions Bank as well as the executive director of the Orrin G. Hatch Foundation. From 2019 to 2022 he was the president and CEO of of Kinect Capital, a nonprofit with the stated goal of connecting entrepreneurs with investors.

Christensen was a regional finance director for Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 presidential bids. In 2020, he ran for the GOP nomination in Utah’s 4th Congressional District, finishing fourth in the primary behind nominee and current Rep. Burgess Owens. That year he was one of Utah’s electors for Trump. He earned his law degree from Boston University.

W. Andrew McCullough

A perennial Libertarian candidate for attorney general, W. Andrew McCullough ran for the A.G.’s office in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2016. He also ran for governor in 2010 and the state House in 2022.

McCullough is a graduate of the University of Utah law school and has represented clients in several free speech and search and seizure cases, including defending strip clubs, escort services and adult-themed shops against attempts to outlaw many of the businesses.

Frank Mylar

Frank Mylar has been representing law enforcement agencies and officers and county governments for more than three decades. In recent years, he defended Beaver County in a suit alleging it had violated the free speech rights of animal rights activists, represented counties sued by the ACLU over its coronavirus response, and fought to keep memorial crosses for Utah Highway Patrol troopers along public roadsides.

A Republican, Mylar previously worked in the attorney general’s office and ran for A.G. in the past. He earned his law degree from Seattle University.

Rachel Terry

Republican Rachel Terry is the current director at the Utah Division of Risk Management, which insures property and covers claims against the state and local entities. Before that, she worked as an assistant attorney general handling civil rights litigation, was legal counsel to the Utah State Board of Education, and worked with the Utah League of Cities and Towns. In 2021, she successfully argued that schools were not legally required to offer girls football.

She earned her law degree from BYU. If elected, Terry would be Utah’s first female Republican attorney general.

Michelle Quist

Now a United Utah Party candidate, Michelle Quist ran as a Republican to replace Attorney General John Swallow in 2013, losing to Reyes. She earned her law degree at BYU and is the former dean of admissions at the school and served as staff attorney for the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Currently, Quist is part of the business litigation and appellate team at the firm Holland & Hart. For several years she wrote a regular opinion column for The Salt Lake Tribune and is a former editorial board member.

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