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3RD DISTRICT JUDGE MAY RUN FOR UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL

Third District Judge Scott Daniels is near to announcing his candidacy for Utah attorney general.

Daniels, a Democrat, said Monday that he'll make his decision this week. "I have to work out some financial matters. If I can, I'll do it."Daniels, a former presiding judge in the district that includes Salt Lake County, has not run for office before, although he's considered several races, including governor.

In the legislative session that just ended last week, there was some general consensus that the attorney general's pay should be tied to that of a district judge - giving the attorney general a significant pay increase in the hopes of attracting quality candidates this year.

Tying the two pay scales together would have significantly increased the attorney general's pay, from $58,300 to more than $80,000 a year. But the last night of the session, as the pay raises for elected state officials hit the House floor, an amendment was offered that those elected officials only get 3 percent pay raises - like other state workers. It passed.

"Yeah, the money matters," said Daniels. "I've been in a negative career path as far as salary - going from private practice to the bench and now this (attorney general). But the pay is about $60,000 a year, not a starvation wage," he said.

Attorney General Paul Van Dam, also a Democrat, isn't seeking re-election this year.