The Republican and Democratic candidates for Utah Attorney General faced off in their first televised debate last night.
The debate between Republican Attorney General Sean Reyes and Democratic candidate Charles Stormont was adversarial from the beginning. In their opening statements, both candidates attempted to poke holes in the credentials and actions of their opponent. While the two did agree on a few issues, Stormont made it clear that he believes it’s a waste of taxpayer money to continue to defend Utah’s law banning same-sex marriage.
“It’s time to actually start giving good, honest, fair legal advice to the people of Utah," Stormont said. "We haven’t had that for very, very long time. We’ve had far too much political advice on hot button issues.”
But when responding to a question from television journalist Rod Decker, Reyes said the job of the Attorney General is to defend Utah’s laws.
“If you want to make policy, Rod, you run for the legislature," Reyes said. "If you want a veto power you run for governor. But if you want, and if your running for attorney general, you better be ready to defend all of the laws whether you agree with them or not, or whether they’re politically convenient or not.”
Stormont and Reyes are running to fill the remainder of former Utah Attorney General John Swallow’s term who was elected in 2012. Swallow resigned in November of 2013 after being accused of campaign finance violations and receiving bribes.