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Voter’s Guide to the Republican Party’s Primary Candidates for Attorney General

SALT LAKE CITY — Ballots for the Republican primary are underway starting Tuesday, when Utah voters who have registered with the party will have a choice between three attorney general candidates seeking to replace current Attorney General Sean Reyes, who withdrew from the race in December.

The Attorney General of Utah is the state’s chief law enforcement officer, charged with the mission “to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Utah, to enforce the law, and to protect the interests of the State of Utah and its states.” people, environment and resources.” More than 500 attorneys and staff are led by the elected official, who sets out the group’s vision and priorities.

Four Republicans are vying for a spot on the ticket, and the campaign has been in full swing since the beginning of the year.

During the April 27 congressional process, party delegates voted on who to send to the primaries. Trent Christensen and Derek Brown were eliminated in the first round, leaving Frank Mylar and Rachel Terry. In the runoff, Mylar (59.8%) and Terry (40.2%) earned their spots on the ballot.

Brown has also gone through the process of collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot and will be the third candidate to run in the November general election.

All candidates share a common ground.

With Reyes currently embroiled in lawsuits over the disclosure of his work schedule, all the hopefuls said they are committed to making the office more transparent by making their schedules public and designating community liaisons.

All expressed support at the convention for in-person voting with required identification, strong anti-abortion sentiments, a desire to crack down on illegal immigration and disdain for “federal overreach.” All support former President Donald Trump’s re-election, although Brown said he only supports policies that are “consistent with conservative principles.”

In no particular order, these candidates spoke to KSL about their priorities, experience and what sets them apart from the rest.

Rachel Terry

Rachel Terry reacts after the race for Attorney General in which Frank Demcy Mylar won 59.76% of the vote and Terry won 40.24% of the vote, meaning they will both advance to the primary ballot, at the state nominating convention of the Utah Republican Party at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on April 27.
Rachel Terry reacts after the race for Attorney General in which Frank Demcy Mylar won 59.76% of the vote and Terry won 40.24% of the vote, meaning they will both advance to the primary ballot, at the state nominating convention of the Utah Republican Party at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on April 27. (Photo: Megan Nielsen, Deseret News)

Overview

Terry currently serves as director of the Utah Division of State Risk Management, which works with public schools and government agencies to provide insurance and risk mitigation services.

She previously worked as an attorney in the Utah Attorney General’s Office on civil rights cases, and has worked at a private firm handling mining, real estate, banking and other matters. Terry previously served as assistant director of the Utah League of Cities and Towns and served two years on the Utah Board of Education.

“I’ve worked on a broad, broad spectrum of legal work,” Terry said. “And that experience has allowed me to build relationships and coalitions with the entities represented by the attorney general’s office.”

Terry has received $98,291.92 for her campaign to date, according to campaign financial disclosures. Of her donors, Terry said, “Money generally doesn’t flow in from random places. It’s people I’ve developed relationships with; most of it comes from friends and family,” or those who align with her causes.

While investigations and internal audits have dogged the past three attorneys general, Terry says, “The best way to stay out of trouble is to not look for it and stay focused on the job.”

She believes her qualifications and passion for the work set her apart from the other two candidates. “The mission of the Attorney General’s Office is to protect Utah and Utah’s resources, and that is something I care deeply about,” Terry said. “I have 13-year-old twins and I want to ensure that they have the same opportunities and quality of life that I have enjoyed.”

Top 3 problems

Terry said she plans to improve the relationship between the public and the attorney general’s office through constituent services and public accountability. She said she will work to “protect children from the harms of online predators and social media” and support law enforcement “as they deal with the challenges the immigration crisis has created.”

Recommendations

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the Utah Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed Terry. Many other expressions of support have come from municipalities, with mayors, commissioners, council members, sheriffs and private attorneys signing on to her campaign. “I just want to do a great job for the state and represent them well,” she said.

Dirk Brown

Republican candidate for Utah Attorney General Derek Brown addresses attendees at Holladay City Hall in Holladay on April 4.
Republican candidate for Utah Attorney General Derek Brown addresses attendees at Holladay City Hall in Holladay on April 4. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Overview

Brown was chairman of the Utah Republican Party from 2019 to 2021, former deputy chief of staff to Senator Mike Lee, and served four years in the Utah House of Representatives. He also served as a lobbyist from 2017 to early 2024, working with a wide range of industry clients from technology, real estate, arts, municipalities, medical cannabis, alcohol, direct-to-consumer products and more.

In Washington DC, Brown worked at two multinational law firms, where he practiced constitutional and appellate litigation.

“You need the legal background, you need the political background and you need the leadership background,” Brown said. “I’m the only candidate in the race who really has those three.”

He was the only one to seek a nomination through both the signature-gathering and congressional processes and has received $509,068.68 to date, more than three times as much as the rest of the candidates combined. “Right now I’m accepting donations from anyone who supports me,” he said.

“It’s an opportunity to make a difference in the state of Utah and to serve,” Brown said, and the job “requires more than legal work; it requires an understanding of the political dynamics of the office.” He believes he will bring “new eyes” to the role of the only person in the race who will never work in an office.

Top 3 problems

Brown’s top priority is “advocating for the most vulnerable,” especially protecting children on social media. He also said, “I expect to spend a significant amount of time ensuring that the federal government stays the course” on federal lands, education and energy.

Drawing on his experience at major law firms and on appropriations committees, Brown says he will “ensure I am supported in making (the attorney general’s office) the most effective, modern and prestigious law firm in the state of Utah.”

Recommendations

On Wednesday, Utah Governor Spencer Cox announced his support for Brown, along with Senator Mike Lee and a number of state senators, representatives, county commissioners and others.

Frank Mylar

Republican candidate for Utah Attorney General Frank Mylar addresses attendees at Holladay City Hall in Holladay on April 4.
Republican candidate for Utah Attorney General Frank Mylar addresses attendees at Holladay City Hall in Holladay on April 4. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Overview

Mylar has been in private practice for more than twenty years, focusing on constitutional and government litigation, law enforcement, civil rights and religious freedom. Previously, he worked for 12 years in the attorney general’s office and served as director of legal affairs for the Utah Department of Corrections.

“I’ve worked for three generals, and I’ve worked in every major part of the office,” Mylar said. ‘I’m the only one with criminal law experience. I’ve actually done both prosecution and criminal defense, and that’s a third of what the office does.”

Mylar called its $46,214.53 donations a “grassroots combination” of “real people.”

As an attorney with the conservative Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom, Mylar said he has experience fighting for constitutional rights in areas such as federal overreach, immigration, religious and racial discrimination, property rights and religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine. “You name it, I’ve done it,” Mylar said, adding he hopes to be more aggressive about claims of constitutional violations the office receives if elected.

Mylar says much of its work with the advocacy group has been free. “I want to be able to actually pay attention to people’s constitutional rights and help defend them when we can, and make sure people feel like they’re being addressed.”

Mylar is under scrutiny after his opponent Christensen reported a text message to police and the bar claiming that Mylar had offered him a job in exchange for an endorsement. The message, which read in part, “If you could support me before the convention, I would certainly accept you into my office,” was retracted hours later, with Mylar apologizing and calling it an accident.

The candidate told KSL that the text “was a mistake, I had no idea that was what it said,” noting that he was distracted in the middle of a trial. “I say things in text, especially in my voice text, and somehow it’s completely distorted.”

Top 3 problems

Mylar will focus on addressing gender discrimination and Title IX issues. “I don’t want any exceptions,” he said. “It’s not fair to the girls and to the women.”

Combating federal encroachment on schools, prisons, transgender issues and federal land in the state will be a priority for Mylar.

He’s also trying to address immigration issues, wants to make it illegal for anyone to transport or finance undocumented immigrants and wants to “remove anyone who has been recently dumped here.”

“It’s just completely irresponsible for New York and other places to dump illegal immigrants into our state,” he said. “Sometimes at midnight on planes, and we just don’t do anything about it.”

Recommendations

The advocacy group Moms for America Action has endorsed Mylar, as have Beaver County Sheriff Cody Black, former Alliance Defending Freedom CEO Michael Farris, and other private attorneys.

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