OGDEN -- Weber County Attorney Dee Smith will file as a Democratic candidate for Utah attorney general.
Smith said he finally made up his mind to run for the office Tuesday after three months of lobbying from state Democratic Party officials.
"Their interest was overwhelming and flattering," Smith said.
"We started courting him seriously at the end of last year," said Rob Miller, head of the state party's recruitment committee and its state treasurer.
"I didn't keep track of how many times he said no to us," Miller said. "But we're glad he didn't say yes immediately.
"It's a process he had to immerse himself in. Frankly, we'd be concerned if he had said yes without thinking about it. We don't want a politician, we want an attorney general."
Miller said Democratic figures from around the state contacted Smith to urge him to run over the past three months, including Congressman Jim Matheson, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, state legislators and assistant attorneys general.
"We set the dogs out," Miller said.
Smith will formally file his candidacy Monday morning at the Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office in the state Capitol joined by state party officials and the party's candidate for governor, retired Gen. Peter Cook.
"We wanted someone we knew we could trust and someone who could match the leadership and charisma of Peter Cook," Miller said. "We wanted a candidate on the ballot we can be proud of and who resonates, and Dee gives us all of that."
Smith, 43, has served as Weber County's top prosecutor since May 2009, tapped by the county Democratic Party to replace fellow Democrat Mark DeCaria when he was appointed a judge in 2nd District Court in Ogden.
Smith was a public defender at the time, devoted to defense work with the Ogden firm of Richards Caine & Allen for several years after a short stint as a Weber prosecutor in the office he now heads.
If elected, Smith said he would continue to maintain his residence in Weber County and commute to the Capitol. "I would still raise my children in this community."
Smith said he expects the fundraising aspect of running for office to be particularly daunting, requiring cash in the realm of six figures to run a statewide campaign.
Miller said the recruitment committee has been eyeing Smith for years.
"It's not one particular thing," he said. "There's just a consistency in the way he's able to speak to the people and interact with those he's involved with. We're seeing a real leader in the community."
Miller said the party has talked to other candidates for the attorney general's post, "but all that ended up doing was confirming him as the best candidate.
"Part of what made him attractive to us was his reluctance. During the campaign he wants to be able to take care of Weber County, and we're going to make sure he can do that, even though it means he won't be able to spend as much time on the campaign as other candidates."