By Meghan Riding
Mark Shurtleff will take office as the new attorney general after defeating Reed Richards in Tuesday’s election.
Shurtleff, a Republican, beat his Democratic contender Richards, a Democrat, by 18 percent. Shurtleff received 58 percent of the vote.
“I’m so excited to get busy and work with the people all over the state,” Shurtleff said.
Shurtleff thanked his supporters and his family in his acceptance speech and called for the start of a
new era in the Attorney General’s office.
“This is a great new era for the Republican Party and for the state. Let’s get going and fight crime,” he said.
Being positive and optimistic about the future helped win the election, Shurtleff said.
“People will see and feel in me a doer. We needed a leader that will take charge and set an example,” he said.
Trusting the voters would recognize him as a visible leader that can make a difference and take the state to a higher level, catapulted him to victory, Shurtleff said.
“I truly feel what I have to offer is good for Utah,” he said.
The transition period between election and taking office is crucial to leading the Attorney General’s office in a new direction, Shurtleff said.
Reorganizing leadership in the office will be a priority in the transitional period, he said.
Once sworn in, Shurtleff said he plans to work with the State Legislature on crime bills.
Ally Isom, Shurtleff’s campaign manager, also credited the victory to the grassroots campaigning by the volunteers.
“It’s been a challenging but rewarding campaign. It was a team effort by the volunteers,” Isom said.
Shurtleff has a hands-on leadership style that makes him approachable yet accountable and this was appealing to the voters, Isom said.
“He energizes people and brings them towards his vision,” Isom said. “Mark wants new ways to solve old problems, like crime, pornography and meth. He has real world philosophies.”
Richards, who has been Utah’s Chief Deputy Attorney General since 1993, said he did everything he could to win the election.
The Attorney General needs to be independent so a political balance can be achieved, Richards said.
Richards said he enjoyed his campaign trips to Utah County and viewed students as a vital role in politics.
“Students are very important and make a difference,” he said. “I encourage students to keep participating.”
Pam Blackum, Richard’s administrative assistant in the Attorney General’s office and also a campaign worker, said it would have helped to have had more money for the campaign.
“It’s hard to generate money early on in the campaign, and that would have helped,” she said. “But Reed is tireless and kept focus on the election.”
Everyone that has worked with Richards knows that he is smart and helps raise people to greater heights, Blackum said.
“Reed is a master implementor and was an inspiration to work for,” she said.