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Utah County attorney rebuffed at county GOP convention, but still headed to primary

A man stands at a podium with bleachers of people behind him. American flags fill the scene.
Sonja Hutson
Utah County Attorney David Leavitt is facing intense backlash for the reforms he’s brought to the office.

The Utah County Fraternal Order of Police and a group of six former prosecutors in Leavitt’s office have issued statements of no confidence in Leavitt and oppose his re-election.

Utah County Republican delegates snubbed County Attorney David Leavitt at the party’s convention Saturday. Leavitt received support from just 10% of delegates during the first round of voting.

He will still appear on the Republican primary ballot because he collected enough signatures to qualify.

One of his prosecutors, Adam Pomeroy, and Jeff Gray, who works for the state attorney general’s office, will join him on the primary ballot.

Leavitt has come under fire for some of the reforms he’s instituted since being elected in 2018, including abandoning the death penalty — which the County Commission approved — and starting a diversion program.

“My plan … puts the violent and dangerous in prison,” Leavitt told delegates in his convention speech. “It provides redemption, not retribution, for the nonviolent, and it restores essential checks and balances.”

After his speech concluded, Leavitt stayed standing at the podium. After 30 seconds, applause gave way to boos.

“I wanted to feel what it felt like to have an entire gymnasium of people booing you,” Leavitt told KUER after his speech. “It was a personal moment for me and an affirming moment because I'm willing to stand alone.”

Leavitt’s critics were loud and clear: his reforms have failed, they said.

“He shows by his actions a complete disregard for the needs of victims and the need for justice,” Gray told delegates. “That is a dereliction of duty.”

Pomeroy, who received slightly more support than Gray from delegates Saturday, said he would do a better job of being “smart on crime” than Leavitt has.

“The solution is to be smart,” he said. “It is to hold offenders accountable by charging the crime, but being wise enough to differentiate between the people who made a mistake and are willing to fix it and career criminals who will continue to harm the community. We must listen to victims and we must listen to our officers who are on the street.”

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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