SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — State attorney general candidate Sean Reyes has filed a defamation of character lawsuit against opponent John Swallow and others, claiming they falsely portrayed him in advertisements.
Sean Reyes, in his suit filed Friday in 3rd District Court, contends Swallow, his campaign team members and a Nevada-based super PAC named It’s Now or Never “worked in concert” to damage his reputation.
The two Republicans are vying against each other in Tuesday’s primary. The winner will take on Democrat Dee Smith in November.
The TV and radio ads focus on an ethical question dealing with Reyes’ campaign fundraising that has been investigated and dismissed, as well as a 1993 incident of alleged road rage, the Deseret News reported in a copyright story (http://bit.ly/MIRATm ).
The Nevada-based political action committee has spent $140,000 in Utah against Reyes, according to documents filed with the state.
Reyes claims that phrases and words used in the ads, including “under the table,” “misreported,” “caught” and “skirting,” are false and defamatory.
Swallow, the chief deputy for Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, called the suit “frivolous” and said “desperate candidates do desperate things.”
Swallow enjoys a comfortable lead over Reyes, according to a Deseret News/KSL TV poll that found 52 percent of respondents would vote for Swallow and 24 percent would vote for Reyes. Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed were unsure of their choice.
The survey of registered voters was conducted June 15-21 by Dan Jones & Associates. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.