Washington County Attorney race: Latest endorsements, meet-and-greets

ST. GEORGE – With the primary for the county attorney Republican nomination under a week away, both candidates have raked in a number of endorsements from private citizens, public officials and law enforcement.

Challenger Nathan Caplin, who touts constitutional expertise and challenging federal overreach within the county, has garnered the support of area mayors. Brock Belnap, the incumbent, says he has the proven experience to keep the job and has served the county well in prosecuting crime and combating federal encroachment. He has gained the support of the county sheriff and city police chiefs.

Early voting continues through Friday.

Candidate meet-and-greets

For individuals who haven’t yet had the opportunity to meet the candidates in person, both are still holding meet-and-greet events before the primary, which takes place Tuesday.

Belnap will be at a meet-and-greet at the Bloomington County Club, 3174 S. Bloomington Dr., in St. George, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The event will be hosted by St. George City Council members Bette Arial, Joe Bowcutt, Jimmie Hughes and Michele Randal, who have each endorsed Belnap.

On Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m., Caplin will be at the home of Ralph and Cheri Atkin, 390 Del Mar Dr. in St. George, and voters are invited to come meet him. The home is located behind Bloomington Elementary School.

Latest endorsements

St. George Mayor Jon Pike, who offered an initial statement of support on Caplin’s campaign website, posted a more detailed outline of why he supports Caplin for county attorney on Facebook Tuesday. Pike said he was initially planning to remain neutral in the race, but after listening to Caplin more and meeting with him “I was convinced that Nate was my choice for county attorney,” he said.

Pike outlined four reasons for his support of Caplin:

  • An emphasis on planning, which was a large part of Pike’s own mayoral race. “Nate emphasizes being prepared for legal challenges,” Pike said. “Planning ahead for key issues that the county will certainly face such as public land concerns and threats to our constitutional rights.”
  • Listening. “Nate has indicated his intent to establish a county-wide volunteer council to listen to citizen input and concerns related to the county attorney’s office.”
  • Focus on the Constitution. “For a position that is focused on our legal system, I want our county attorney to have a strong knowledge of, passion for, and focus on the Constitution.”
  • Working together. Caplin has proposed, as part of a better battle against federal encroachment, that the city and county governments all work together and provide a stronger, unified front. This is a position Pike also supports. “Working together as local citizens in partnership with surrounding counties and the state of Utah … I believe we will be much stronger in the challenges that come our way.”

Read Pike’s endorsement in its entirety here. Endorsements offered by other city mayors can be found here.

As previously mentioned, the Washington County Sheriff and the chiefs of police throughout the county support Belnap. Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher submitted his support of the current county attorney to media Wednesday.

“I am supporting County Attorney Brock Belnap in his reelection on Tuesday, June 24, and I encourage you to get out and vote Belnap with me,” Pulsipher said. “I support Brock because I trust him and his experience navigating critical cases, and because he has proven to me that he is a leader.”

Reasons Pulsipher endorses Belnap:

  • “I trust Brock. When it comes to experience, he has both quantity and quality.”
  • “I respect Brock and follow his advice. As Washington County Sheriff, I know the importance of having a county attorney that can lead law enforcement officers to make sure crime is fought effectively and fairly.”
  • Finally, I agree with Brock’s understanding of his role as Washington County Attorney. He works to ensure that we live in a safe community where government remains as small and as local as possible. Some are saying that Brock’s opponent is the better candidate, despite his inexperience, because of his desire to expand the role of the county attorney and create ‘movements’ by virtue of the office. I strongly disagree.”

Read Pulsipher’s endorsement in its entirety here. Endorsements offered by the area chiefs and police can be found here.

Others who have submitted letters endorsing Belnap include:

  • Michele Randall, St. George City Council – PDF
  • Rep. Brad Last, Utah House District 71 – PDF

Ed. Note: The days of the candidate meet-and-greets have been corrected.


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Twitter: @MoriKessler

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  • goldie June 18, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Good column. I find it interesting that the mayor of SG was convinced that Mr. Caplin suddenly became his choice for County Attorney after a “one hour meeting, ” according to the Spectrum report. After knowing and working with Mr. Belnap for over 14 years. It would be interesting to “follow the money (or the influence peddaling, or the power,) I also continue to find it interesting that anyone thinks the office of County Attorney has the power to turn away from the Constitution — it has not gone anywhere. Why are people so fearful and gullible?

  • Bee June 18, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Nathan Caplin’s Meet & Greet is THURSDAY, June 19th NOT FRIDAY.

  • tf84790 June 18, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Belnap Meeting at Bloomington Country Club is tonight Wed. 6/18 at 7:30 NOT Thurs., please correct.

  • Bender June 18, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Vote for Caplin if you want to encourage:
    1 – Wealthy and influential fathers bankrolling and elbowing their kids into political office.
    2 – Inexperienced, self-righteous ideologues.
    3 – Petty campaigning — inferring the other guy does not abide by the Constitution.
    4 – Booting out seasoned, well-regarded and effective office holders because of anti-politician sentiment.
    Jon Pike, you just lost my respect.
    I can’t vote in this election because I won’t align myself with what has become the party of petty craziness. If you reasonable Republicans don’t vote, Caplin will be elected by the small minority of zealous Tea Party nuts in Washington County who are motivated to turn out.

  • JAR June 18, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    I think the commissioners and the citizens of County of Washington need the most qualified and experienced person to help guide the legal system of Dixie.
    To me, this election isn’t about politics. It’s about integrity. My check mark is for
    Brock Belnap.

  • Festus June 19, 2014 at 2:03 am

    I really hope people aren’t naive enough to buy into Caplins BS… The guy can blow smoke that’s for sure!
    Belnap 2014

  • St. George Resident June 19, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Focus on the constitution?
    The state-sanctioned religious oligarchy is laughing at that one.

  • Brian June 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I have really been struggling with this decision. Belnap has been a great county attorney, and he isn’t anywhere close to deserving being fired (which is basically what voting him out does). That being said, a good friend (precinct chair, county and state delegate) that is very informed and I really trust talked to Belnap about the Constitutional challenges we’re facing right now by a seriously over-reaching federal government. Belnap didn’t think he had any role in that whatsoever and that his job was solely to fight crime in Washington County. 10 years ago I may have been more tolerant of that view, but unfortunately we don’t live on that planet anymore. If our great nation is to be saved, it will happen from the bottom up, not the top down. If we can’t get it right in Washington County, we’ll never get it right in Washington D.C. For that reason I’m voting for Caplin. He’s very strong on the most important fight we have right now, and will do an equal job on fighting crime. Yes Belnap has more experience, but he got that on the job just like Caplin will.

    • Bender June 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      And here is an example of the weak-minded Tea Party nut who will be trying to vote a seasoned veteran out office for petty, and irrational, ideological reasons.
      Get out and vote Washington County. Caplin is a Mike Lee Mini-me who will only gain office if the reasonable majority of Washington voters don’t make their voices heard by voting next week.

  • tea party member June 19, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    First of all. I consider myself a tea-party member (not a nut though).
    Second of all, I did not vote for Caplin (early voting).

    As far as I can tell, Caplin is not even a tea-party candidate and probably doesn’t even know what the tea party stands for. I think he was just the first to claim the phrase “Return to the Constitution”. Belnap could have claimed the phrase first and been just as effective using the phrase with the tea-party. However, he wasn’t willing to mislead the citizens as to what the county attorney’s role actually is. Caplin appears to be an opportunist, using the catchy phrase “Return to the Constitution” when he can’t show where Washington County has even departed from the constitution. Plain and simple, Caplin is a politician (evidenced by the fact that he (I mean his father) has spent over 54K to buy an office and that he is simply going with the momentum of the tea party. If you want a politician because you can’t get enough politicians, it seems Caplin is your choice.

    Belnap seems to be what a county attorney should be first: an attorney, not a politician. I don’t know Brock personally (I may have met him once — I actually know Caplin’s family better), and he’s certainly not perfect, but if you want a guy who got his law degree four years ago and deals mostly in civil matters to take the reigns prosecuting criminals in Washington County, then good luck. Pike has lost my vote for Mayor (I did vote for him) because the position he has alluded to that “Caplin is the most qualified for the job don’t make sense.” Since when does 4 years experience make you more qualified then someone with 14 years experience?”

    Even if Caplin was a “tea-party” candidate, the County Attorney’s role is not to change law, etc. The county attorney advises the county commission, prosecutes criminals and ultimately takes his or her orders from the county commission, i.e. his/her obligation is to enforce the law as it exists and advise the county commission as to the legal implications of its actions given the law that exists (Eric Holder is a prime example of an attorney who is charged with the obligation to uphold the law but will not — that seems to be Caplin’s message as well). Changing laws and getting back to the constitution is for the legislature. In short, Caplin’s plan=taxpayer funds spent without an efficient result. So, to be logical, Caplin’s “Return to the Constitution” actually constitutes a departure from it.

    I agree that some things need to change and that our country needs to get back on track and “Return to the Constitution”, but the county attorney’s office is not where it starts. It starts with voting good people into offices that actually have that responsibility. Accordingly, it looks like it starts with replacing Pike who obviously doesn’t understand the role of the county attorney.

    Last thing — look at the guys who deal with Belnap on a daily basis (sheriffs, etc.); they all endorse Belnap. It tells you something.

    • Bender June 19, 2014 at 8:46 pm

      “First of all. I consider myself a tea-party member (not a nut though).”
      You are nutty per definitionem dude.
      You sound like a reasonable chap though. It’s not to late to drop your association with an angry, irrational mob which gave us the likes of Mike Lee.

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