Utah governor condemns attorney general joining Texas suit

FILE - Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes speaks during the Utah Republican Party convention on April 26, 2014, in Sandy, Utah. Utah's newly re-elected attorney general said Friday, Nov. 6, 2020, he is taking personal leave time to help support President Donald Trump's legal challenges to election procedures. Trump has claimed without evidence that the vote is unfair and rigged. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s Republican governor and governor-elect on Thursday condemned the attorney general’s decision to join a Texas lawsuit to invalidate the presidential race results in four battleground states that President Donald Trump lost.

Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who will be taking the governor’s seat in January, said it is not Utah’s responsibility to intervene in other states’ elections. They also said Attorney General Sean Reyes did not consult them before signing onto the amicus brief.

Herbert told reporters that candidates and campaigns are responsible for pursuing election-related legal challenges and called Utah’s involvement “a waste of our taxpayers’ dollars.”

Cox, who is an attorney, said there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the presidential election and “sometimes we just lose.”

“There is the possibility that voter fraud has happened, but you actually have to have evidence,” said Cox. “I keep waiting for the smoking gun that has been promised. I’ve yet to see it.”

Herbert and Cox were some of the first Republicans to acknowledge Biden’s election win.

Reyes, who is also a Republican, said Wednesday he is filing in support of the lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate 62 Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden from Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

“This case is not about the propriety of Utah elections,” Reyes wrote in a statement Wednesday. “I have great confidence in the bi-partisan work to assure fair and reliable elections in our state … Rather, we join this amicus because of questions about process and constitutional integrity that need to be answered nationally.”

If those 62 electoral votes are invalidated, it would be enough to swing the election to Trump. The lawsuit from the Texas attorney general, Republican Ken Paxton, repeats a litany of false, disproven and unsupported allegations about mail-in ballots and voting in the four battlegrounds.

The courts have already dismissed numerous election complaints as Trump continues to tweet that the results should be overturned. Legal experts have dismissed the Texas filing as a long shot.

Reyes joined several other Republican attorneys general at a “holiday luncheon” hosted by the White House on Thursday, said Ric Cantrell, a spokesman for Reyes.

Reyes has supported Trump’s claims of voter fraud and spent a weekend in November shortly after his own reelection looking for election problems in Nevada, another battleground state that Biden won.


Eppolito is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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  • Free Bird December 10, 2020 at 5:08 pm Reply

    Thumbs up to Mr. Reyes. He obviously understands the US Constitution, unlike the complaining clowns.

  • Joseph Smith December 10, 2020 at 5:57 pm Reply

    I don’t know what is more alarming: That Reyes is either 1) STUPID enough to believe Trump’s unsubstantiated claims. Or 2) That someone that is in as much power as he is within our state is that CORRUPT.

    How embarrassing that the word UTAH is associated with this lawsuit. We look like the hillbilly morons with Trump flags driving up and down the street. I’ve never been so ashamed to be a citizen our state.


    I swear, American society has taken a step back in evolution and is becoming more “caveman like”. When you read this don’t get mad. This is coming from a place of caring and genuine concern. Okay? TRY and learn to critically think. You don’t have listen to one radio or tv program and think that it is true. Reason. Learn. Maybe consider sources. Weigh the term “belief” vs. the term fact.

    Oh life. Living among the sheep and monkeys is tiresome and depressing.

    • Ethan Conlee December 11, 2020 at 2:28 pm Reply

      Joseph Smith’s comment expresses a laughable lack of self awareness. I mean what, you call Trump supporters hillbilly morons and then sheep and monkeys and expect them to say “I think I ought to listen to what this guy is saying about the lack of evidence of voter fraud”? You’re right that we shouldn’t be associated with the lawsuit, but I don’t see you winning any hearts or minds with your rude and condescending rhetoric.

  • Pyrrholyte December 10, 2020 at 9:50 pm Reply

    “STUPID… CORRUPT… hillbilly morons… IDIOTS… *this is coming from a place of caring and genuine concern*… TRY and learn to critically think… sheep… monkeys…”

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