Sim Gill, a Democrat running for district attorney in Salt Lake County, is now in the lead according to early results as of Tuesday night at 11 p.m. According to preliminary figures, Gill received over 20% more votes than her conservative opponent and relative newcomer Danielle Ahn. Gill received around 108,539 votes, compared to Ahn’s 73,589, with 182,128 votes totaled in the contest.
At the Utah Democratic Reception’s election night party on Tuesday, Gill stated, “We have always felt that therapeutic justice, mental health court, drug court, and diversion programs who can help those who are in most need — we can do it without compromising public safety.” However, if you pose a risk to our community, we will vigorously pursue legal action against you, imprison you, and hold you accountable.
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Early results also showed that Democratic incumbent Rosie Rivera was ahead of conservative rival Nick Roberts in the race for Salt Lake County Sheriff as of around 11 p.m. Tuesday. The sheriff’s contest saw 181,765 votes totaled, with Rivera receiving 114,687 votes to Roberts’ 67,078.
At the same election night gathering on Tuesday, Rivera remarked, “We have so much more work to do. She expressed excitement about “working side by side with Sim Gill again.” After a campaigning period that centered on crime and public safety in Utah’s most populous county, the preliminary results for the D.A. race were announced late on Tuesday.
Data from the Department of Public Safety indicate that both general crime and violent crime increased in 2020 and 2021, but that these trends are expected to reverse in 2022.
Ahn’s campaign tapped into public concerns about crime by pledging to bring violent offenders to justice rather than grant them plea agreements, which would lower crime and make neighborhoods safer.
She created catchphrases that poked fun at the incumbent’s changes, such as “Tough Ahn crime” and “Plea deal Gill,” and she won the support of the state’s Fraternal Order Police, Governor Spencer Cox, and Attorney General Sean Reyes. The centerpiece of Gill’s campaign was his record of enacting “restorative justice” reforms, which seek to divert more individuals from the criminal justice system and into treatment for underlying issues like substance abuse rather than incarceration.
He committed to enhancing those initiatives, such as victim support services, and putting the agency in a position to handle Salt Lake County’s expanding population. He won his initial election in 2010. Ahn has never prosecuted a case since she graduated from law school in 2019. Gill criticized her lack of expertise, claiming that her policy platforms showed she didn’t comprehend the position and that, if elected, she would endanger public safety.
Along with Republican candidates for sheriff Nick Robert and clerk Goud Maragani, the Salt Lake County Democrat Party dubbed Ahn an extremist for their affiliation with right-wing organizations. The event also called Ahn out for tweeting “#OKGroomer” in reference to George Takei, a former Star Trek actor, and a gay rights campaigner. Later, she removed the tweet.
When Ahn shared a video of a man who appeared to be drunk on her campaign’s Instagram page last month and told her followers that he was an illustration of why she was running for office, she received backlash on social media. Ahn stated in the now-deleted video, “This stuff is happening and we can’t allow this to happen anymore. It’s because of lax enforcement, lax legislation.”
Ahn, though, had the backing of Republican officials and law enforcement, something Gill did not. A better connection with law enforcement would provide police more incentive to perform their duties and, as a result, help keep the county safer, according to FOP president Brent Jex and others who claimed that the reform measures Gill ran on contributed to increases in crime and lawlessness.
Liberal voters also criticized Gill, saying that he doesn’t go far enough to hold cops accountable for police shootings. Nate Blouin, a Democrat running for state senate, was recently asked about his endorsement of Gill on Twitter. Some people expressed surprise at Blouin’s decision.