Shurtleff working and campaigning from living room
Mark Shurtleff

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says he's ready to begin campaigning for November, despite undergoing major surgery four days ago to repair a badly broken leg.

His campaign will look markedly different this year than Shurtleff's last two campaigns. For one thing, he's facing anywhere from six to nine months recovery time, time that doesn't allow for him to get out and shake a lot of hands.

Resting, recovering in his parents' living room, Utah Attorney General Shurtleff talks about what he wants to do during this campaign and what he can't do. "Getting out and meeting people is really what I should be doing, but I haven't been able to because of this," he said.

"This" is the halo-like contraption that the two-term Republican hopes will repair his shattered left leg. It's a lingering injury that happened last September when Shurtleff was asked to ride a motorcycle for a fundraiser.

"I grew up on dirt bikes and have even ridden smaller street bikes, and the first thought that came to my mind when I first got on there was, ‘Wait a minute, this was bigger than you've ever done before. Ask for something smaller.' And I just didn't."

Now, seven surgeries later and the threat of a leg amputation, Shurtleff faces six to nine months of living and working with this: "My BlackBerry, my laptop at home. I can still do the job, review documents, still work," he said.

So he'll still work and still run for office.

Shurtleff hopes to finish the identity theft database, continue his pursuit of polygamous leaders and tackle the prescription drug problem. "I think now it's probably the number one problem in Utah as far as a drug abuse standpoint," he said.

It's problem he says he understands. "I just have to be careful. I've noticed it, I've been on a lot of meds over the last year. And those times when I've stopped taking them and had been taking them straight for two months, I feel it, how hard it is. You start getting sick, trembly and headaches and chills. And that's taking a tiny, little amount. So I really understand a little glimpse of truly what the addicted, how hard it is for them to rehab."

As we mentioned, Mark Shurtleff is up for re-election. He will face Jean Welch Hill in November.

Originally broadcast September 3, 2008