This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
As reflected in the election of John Swallow by more than 2 to 1, Utah's electorate shows the Know-Nothing party of the mid-19th century is alive and well. The real tragedy of the Swallow fiasco is not that he was unfit to be attorney general, which he demonstrably was, but that Utahns are so fixated on pushing the nearest button with an "R" by it that they won't take the time to read, digest and act on the information staring them in the face.
For anyone paying the slightest attention to the backgrounds and qualifications of the two 2012 attorney general candidates, the contrast was stunning:
One person had a singularly undistinguished career as a lawyer and lobbyist for check-cashing and payday-loan companies with a specialty in political fundraising and influence management.
The other candidate, Dee Smith, the Weber County attorney, had a distinguished career as a criminal prosecutor, with recognition for his work in gang-related crimes and narcotics law enforcement, accolades from business leaders and law enforcement and the endorsement of Utah's primary education association.
So, how to choose? Incredibly, the sleepwalking Utah electorate not to be bothered by facts and qualifications of the candidates chose the "R."
Gary G. Sackett
Salt Lake City