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Gray endorsed by attorney general in Utah County Attorney race

By Kelcie Hartley - | Jun 21, 2022

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

Jeff Gray speaks during the 2022 Utah County Republican Convention on Saturday, April 9, 2022. The convention was held at Cedar Valley High School in Eagle Mountain. Gray is one of three candidates who will be on the primary ballot to be Utah County attorney.

Utah County Attorney candidate Jeff Gray announced Tuesday that he received an endorsement from Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes.

In his official statement, Reyes referred to Gray as the “right choice,” as the two have worked together for many years.

“Together we have pursued cases to the highest courts in America, including the United States Supreme Court,” read the statement. “Jeff is an excellent lawyer and leader in the Utah Attorney General’s Office. He works hard, cares deeply for the Constitution and advocates powerfully for those he represents in court. Utah County deserves a top prosecutor who believes in the American justice system; one who will stand up for victims and defend the Rule of Law. Utah County needs a leader with integrity, experience, and courage. Jeff Gray will bring all those qualities and more.”

Gray believes this endorsement further elevates his campaign against incumbent Utah County Attorney David Leavitt. He said he is very optimistic about his chances in the upcoming June 28 Republican primary election.

“I think we have a lot of momentum,” Gray said. “I’ve talked to so many people throughout the county and I really believe that my values reflect the values of Utah County.”

Gray currently works as an assistant Utah solicitor general, in Reyes’ office.

“I’m really grateful for Sean’s endorsement. I think the people of Utah County respect Sean and his commitment in enforcing the law. Sean knows first-hand my work and my commitment in hold all those who break the law appropriately accountable,” Gray said.

He has also received endorsements from Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith and Adam Pomeroy, a former challenger in the Utah County Attorney race and current deputy in the office, among others.

Reyes also came to his decision familiar with Leavitt and his policies. The two went head-to-head in the 2020 GOP primary for Utah Attorney General, where Reyes won with over 54% of the votes.

In an interview with the Daily Herald, Leavitt said he wasn’t surprised that Reyes has endorsed Gray — just that his endorsement didn’t happen sooner.

“Sean Reyes represents everything that is wrong with the system,” Leavitt said. “So, this doesn’t surprise me. I ran against Reyes for Attorney General in 2020, and I did so because he is an enemy of the reforms I am trying to implement. He’s like everyone else in the system who is trying to eliminate probably the strongest advocate for restoring the criminal justice system that Utah has seen in 50 years.”

Leavitt reiterated his belief that Utah County residents must ask themselves if they want, “a system that our founders designed, with checks and balances, or a system that bureaucrats continue to prop up?”

He is unsure about how Reyes’ endorsement will affect his campaign, but he is comfortable with his positions.

Leavitt rebuts SVU attacks

On Friday, Leavitt sent out a press release to address public misperceptions about the Sexual Victims Unit. Leavitt used the release to respond to claims that the UCAO has stopped prosecuting sex crimes since the removal of the SVU, a frequent talking point in the campaign.

“I think the people are trying to assert that we aren’t prosecuting sex crimes as aggressively and affectively as we should,” Leavitt said. “Those are just misconceptions and misrepresentations. Anytime anyone misrepresents something, that diminishes the confidence that victims have in the process, so I released this because victims need to understand we take their cases seriously. My opponents are attempting to create a narrative that isn’t true and do so to the detrimental of victims.”


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