Harper withdraws from Utah Attorney General race

Jon Harper, Democratic candidate for Utah Attorney General in the 2016 election, announced his withdrawal from the race on Sept. 21, 2016, citing medical reasons, location and date of photo unspecified | Photo courtesy of the Harper Campaign, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Democratic candidate for Utah Attorney General, Jon Harper, announced his withdrawal from the race Wednesday morning. In a press release sent to media, Harper stated he was advised to withdraw by his physician due to health concerns. Despite the withdrawal, the debate event slated for Wednesday at Dixie State University will still proceed; however, it has been changed to a town hall format.

Regarding his withdrawal, Harper issued the following statement:

My family and a number of friends – old and new – have been incredibly supportive, and I appreciate everything they have done for me. I also hope the issues I have raised in this campaign will have an impact on the incumbent – that he will recognize his responsibility to serve as the guardian of the public’s interest and not as the attorney for his party leaders and large donors over the interests of the people; that he will shut down the money mill the Attorney General’s office has continued to be; and that he will do as he promised two years ago to restore openness, independence and integrity in that office.

Peter Corroon, Utah Democratic Party Chair, offered the following comments regarding Harper’s withdrawal:

Democrats appreciated Jon’s willingness to bring a fresh start and independent voice to the Attorney General’s Office. At the end of the day, Jon’s health and family should be his first priority. We support his decision and keep his family in our thoughts and prayers.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, the Republican incumbent, also issued a statement:

I am sorry to hear my opponent is withdrawing from the race for medical reasons. I admire anyone who is willing to put themselves out before the public in a campaign. Campaigns are demanding, grueling processes that can take a toll on one’s health in many ways. I hope he has a speedy recovery and with him and his family the best.

Harper and Reyes were scheduled to debate at Dixie State University Wednesday evening. With Harper’s withdrawal, the format of the event has changed.

The event will move forward, said Jyl Hall, Dixie State’s public relations and marketing director, but instead of a debate, it will be more of a Q&A town hall format. The Reyes’ campaign also confirmed the event was moving ahead.

Questions submitted ahead of time to the candidates will still be presented via a moderator; however, they will be directed to just one candidate instead of two.

Though Harper has withdrawn from the race, Reyes is not running unopposed. Two third-party candidates are also seeking the position: Independent American candidate Michael S. Isbell and Libertarian candidate W. Andrew McCollough.

Wednesday’s debate-turned-town hall event is set for the 6 p.m. at the Dolores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center, 225 S. 700 East, St. George. Attendees are asked to be in their seats by 5:45 p.m.

Event details

  • What: Utah Attorney General debate.
  • When: Wednesday, Sept. 21, 6 p.m. Attendees must be seated by 5:45 p.m.
  • Where: Dixie State University’s Dolores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center, 225 S. 700 East, St. George.
  • Admission: Tickets are free but will be required to enter. Tickets are available in advance by contacting Walton at [email protected] or arriving at the event earlier than 5:30 to get a ticket at the door.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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  • sagemoon September 21, 2016 at 11:43 am

    No biggie. I’m voting Libertarian.

    • .... September 22, 2016 at 3:22 am

      I’m voting tweeker party

  • beacon September 21, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    So sad that this candidate withdrew. Having heard him speak at a recent event, he was a very good candidate and the other side of the story needs to be heard. Tonight AG Sean Reyes had the podium to himself. No one challenged what he had to say. That’s not the way the system is supposed to work. We need to have important issues debated and citizens given the opportunity to hear all sides of the issue. I wish Jon Harper and his family well as they go through this difficult time. Withdrawing from a campaign is never easy after one puts heart and soul into the effort and supporters are counting on them.

  • Marisha November 5, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Harper is on my ballot. Is he actually withdrawn? What happens to the votes of the people who select him?

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