The latest results from the Republican primary show Attorney General Sean Reyes maintaining his lead over Utah County Attorney David Leavitt in the race to be Utah’s top prosecutor.
Statewide GOP primary results updated as of Thursday show incumbent Reyes with 54.2% of votes and Leavitt with 45.8%. Reyes had 252,184 votes while Leavitt had 212,674.
That’s hardly a change from initial results Tuesday night that showed Reyes at 54.5% and Leavitt with 45.5%.
Twelve counties, including Utah and Salt Lake counties, had updated their ballot numbers on Thursday. The other counties had results updated on Tuesday or Wednesday. Counties have three weeks from Tuesday to canvas votes.
Utah County Elections Director Rozan Mitchell said counties would update their results again on Monday after the Fourth of July Weekend.
Leavitt had received 45,833 votes, 45.5%, in Utah County as of Thursday, where he has been county attorney since January 2019, while Reyes leads with 54,810, 54.5%. In Juab County, where Leavitt served as county attorney between 1995 and 2003, he had gotten 1,236 votes, 44.2%, while Reyes had gotten 1,563, 55.8%.
Leavitt said in a statement Thursday that he was on a preplanned vacation with his wife and was “not really monitoring results” and did not concede victory to his opponent.
“As a principle, every voter matters; conceding doesn’t change the outcome,” said Leavitt. “But I do think that it diminishes the value of every studied and cast vote. … So we’ll take it day by day until every vote is counted.”
“And we’ll continue win or lose with the critical work of criminal justice reform,” added Leavitt.
Throughout the campaign and as Utah County Attorney, Leavitt has advocated for a move away from reliance on plea bargains as an alternative to jury trials. Reyes has criticized Leavitt’s position and said it is unrealistic to want every criminal case in the state to go to trial.
Reyes said Tuesday he was “very pleased” with the preliminary results and hoped “to increase our lead over the coming days.”
“It is an honor as Attorney General to stand watch over and defend Utah,” Reyes said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing my momentum into a November re-election victory so I can continue to serve and protect all Utahns.”
The winner of Tuesday’s GOP primary will compete against Democratic candidate Greg Skordas and Libertarian candidate Rudy Bautista, who are both attorneys based in Salt Lake.
“It’s looking more and more like my opponent will be Sean Reyes,” Skordas tweeted Friday. “We cannot continue to tolerate an AG who wants to take away healthcare from Utahns and who accepts big donations from fraudulent companies.”
Reyes received campaign donations in 2014 from Washakie Renewable Energy, a company whose executives were later charged by federal prosecutors in an approximately $500 million biodiesel fraud scheme, the Associated Press reported.
“The Republicans have their candidate,” Bautista’s campaign wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. “We have ours. Hopefully we will be able to make ourselves heard. Reyes is arrogant and self-righteous and wants to fill up our new prison beyond capacity.”