SALT LAKE CITY — Weber County Attorney Dee Smith made it official Monday, formally filing for the Democratic nomination for attorney general of Utah.
Smith filed his papers at the lieutenant governor’s office in the state Capitol, joined by party officials and the party’s candidate for governor, retired Maj. Gen. Peter Cooke, who also filed.
Smith made a strong pledge that his run for statewide office will not detract from his duties as Weber County’s top prosecutor.
Smith’s office is currently handling three death penalty cases, as well as several other high-profile crimes.
“It’s not going to take time away from the office,” he said of campaigning. “I can’t, I won’t, take time away from the office.”
Smith said he made that clear to the party leaders who drafted him to run. “That was a commitment I had to receive before I could agree. It was nonnegotiable.”
His campaigning, Smith said, will therefore be limited to nights, weekends and vacation time he’ll use for the campaign.
“I’m used to going a couple of days without sleep at times, from getting called out to crime scenes in the middle of the night.”
For daytime events, the party has agreed to send someone in his place, he said.
“I’ll be focusing on being a strong voice for law enforcement,” Smith said of his campaign plans.
The chief “threats our families face,” he said, are illegal drugs, identity fraud, gangs and Internet crimes against children.
State Democratic Party Treasurer Rob Miller stood with Smith as Smith presented his campaign forms.
Miller provided a check from party coffers to cover the $509.20 filing fee for the attorney general’s post, the amount based on the salary for the office.
Miller said he is also building Smith’s campaign website and other online links.
Andrew McCullough, a Salt Lake lawyer, also filed for attorney general, his third try for the office. “Who’s counting?” he quipped.
He said Smith’s candidacy hitting the news Sunday got his fellow Libertarian Party members talking.
“We’re against the death penalty, and he’s a death penalty guy,” McCullough said. “So I had to file.”
The filing period for the November general election began Friday and ends Thursday, shortened to five days this year instead of the 10 days of years past.
Smith, 43, of South Ogden, is the father of four, ages 9 through 15. He was an active defense attorney when appointed to the post in May 2009 to replace Mark DeCaria, who was named to the 2nd District Court bench in Ogden.
Smith was unopposed in the 2010 election.
His wife, Cherrie, is a teacher at Marlon Hills Elementary School and coaches women’s softball at Bonneville High School.