LOCAL NEWS

Why former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is backing a new candidate for AG after appointing Sean Reyes

Nov 20, 2023, 9:27 PM | Updated: Nov 21, 2023, 11:26 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The race for attorney general may still be a year away but it’s already heating up.

Former Utah Republican Party Chair Derek Brown is the first contender to say he’s exploring a run, and his effort is being led by former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

Former Utah GOP Chairman Derek Brown considering run against Attorney General Sean Reyes

The move is seen as by political insiders a significant step in drumming up support for Brown. It was Herbert who appointed current Attorney General Sean Reyes to office 11 years ago. So why is he now backing another candidate who could replace him?

Herbert said the move is less about what Reyes has done, or is accused of doing, and more about what Brown can bring to the seat.

“This is more about, I believe in Derek has a good man who’s got good legal experience and a good experience of managing an office.”

Term limits

Herbert says he’s a big believer in term limits, and after 11 years in office he believes it’s time for a change.

“I do believe that Sean Reyes was the right guy at the right time when I appointed him. And now we’ve had the 10 or 11 years go by. And so the question now, is he still the right guy?”

Herbert was asked if he regrets his decision to appoint Reyes.

“Not at all,” he said “Again, as I’ve said, he was the right guy at the right time.”

Brown’s experience

Herbert touted that Brown’s experience working for “a couple of prestigious law firms,” his time in Washington, D.C. with Sen. Mike Lee and his time as the chairman of the Republican party.

Reyes has recently faced questions over his friendship with Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard who is accused in multiple sexual assault lawsuits.

Utah AG Sean Reyes releases statement on allegations of sexual misconduct against Tim Ballard

Reyes also faces a state audit with two dozen lawmakers demanding to know whether that relationship impacted his impartiality or involved any state resources.

One of those lawsuits also accused Reyes of witness tampering, which Reyes has denied.

“I think there’s always some question marks out there. I think we’re all confused and puzzled,” Herbert said.

The support is significant

Local political analysts like Taylor Morgan believe Herbert backing Brown is significant.

“If I’m former Gov. Gary Herbert, I’m not happy with how Sean Reyes has acted in this office. It’s a poor reflection, and frankly, an embarrassment on the legacy of former Gov. Gary Herbert that is otherwise sterling,” Morgan said.

Reyes’ longtime campaign manager Alan Crooks provided a statement from Reyes via text.

“Derek has been a friend for years. He is an honorable man, if he decides to officially get into the race…I wish him the best,” Reyes said.

Brown is just the first to dip his toe in this race, others, Morgan believes, are likely to jump in too.

“I do think that this will be a crowded field,” Morgan said. “Anytime you have a sitting office holder that gets into trouble with these accusations, the alleged misbehavior of Sean Reyes, he’s seen as being very, very vulnerable.”

Candidates must officially file with the state in January.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

Some of the dozens of loaner life jackets that were donated to a Life Jacket Loaner Station at Jord...

Alex Cabrero

Over 900 loaner life jackets donated to Utah lakes and reservoirs

With Memorial Day weekend on the way, Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital is donating over 900 life jackets to loaner stations to help prevent drownings.

28 minutes ago

We're all guilty of slouching in our chairs. But did you know poor posture can cause serious health...

Emma Benson

Straightening up: How your posture affects your health

We're all guilty of slouching in our chairs. But did you know poor posture can cause serious health issues?

30 minutes ago

Three people suffered minor injuries following a small airplane crash Wednesday near Vernal. (Verna...

Mark Jones

3 people suffer minor injuries in small airplane crash near Vernal

Three people suffered minor injuries following a small plane crash Wednesday near Vernal.

60 minutes ago

Ysabelle Cuevas a is a nurse at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and also a also celebra...

Angie Denison and Michael Houck, KSL TV

Pop Star Nurse: Ysabelle Cueva pursues both of her passions

By day, Ysabelle Cuevas is a registered nurse at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. But her other passion is inspiring others with her music.

1 hour ago

Chad Daybell stands next to his attorney, John Prior, during his murder trial in Boise on Apr. 18....

Daniel Woodruff

Prosecutors want to call more witnesses in Chad Daybell murder trial after defense rests

Prosecutors in the Chad Daybell murder trial in Idaho told a judge Wednesday they want to call several more witnesses as a rebuttal after the defense attorney rests his case.

2 hours ago

Twelve-year-old Kiara loves horse, cooking and trying new food. However, she’s looking for a fami...

Shara Park

Wednesday’s Child: 12-year-old Kiara loves horses, enjoys cooking and trying new foods

Twelve-year-old Kiara is looking for a family connection, a caring adult who can provide her with lifelong stability, a family that will love and guide her as she figures out who she wants to be.

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Why former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is backing a new candidate for AG after appointing Sean Reyes