SALT LAKE CITY –The Utah Republican Party Central Committee met Saturday to choose which three names among those vying to be the state’s next attorney general would be forwarded to the governor for selection.
Among the seven names set before the committee, Sean Reyes, Robert Smith and Brian Tarbet were selected after multiple rounds of voting gradually whittling down seven names to the three final names to be sent to Gov. Gary Herbert.
Candidates needed to secure 50 percent of the committee vote to secure their place among the final three. Reyes gained a majority vote in the first round, with Smith gaining it in the third round. Tarbet’s was the third name selected after a fifth round of voting.
Reyes previously ran against John Swallow for the attorney general’s seat in 2012 and lost in the primary. Smith is currently the managing director of Brigham Young University’s International Center of Law and Religion. Tarbet, a retired adjutant general with the Utah National Guard, is also the current interim attorney general.
Each are vying for the post left by John Swallow following his resignation that went into effect Dec. 3.
Candidates who were either eliminated or withdrew during the voting round include Bret Rawson, Scott Burns, Michael Wilkins and Michelle Mumford.
Former candidates Stephen Sorenson and Brent Ward withdrew from the race prior to Saturday’s voting.
The names will be sent to the desk of the governor for consideration. The next attorney general will temporarily fill the position until a permanent one is voted into office next year to fill the remaining two years of Swallow’s original term.
Officials with the Utah Democratic Party and others have said the next attorney general should be a caretaker, only holding the office for the year and not seeking election. They argue that someone intending to run will be divided between restoring the public’s trust in the attorney general’s office and campaigning.
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