Nearly two weeks ago, The Salt Lake Tribune broke a story about a controversial mailing that may have cost Republican Senate Candidate Mike Lee an outright victory for the nomination at the recent state party convention.
The mailing, sent to Republican Convention Delegates who would soon be selecting the party nominee for U.S. Senate, used LDS temple imagery (a veritable taboo in Utah politics) and popular LDS phrases to attack Republican Senate incumbent Bob Bennett, while seeming to support Mike Lee. The Lee campaign had nothing to do with the piece, yet it is clear that its dual-purpose was to first, offend recipients and second, lead them to believe that it had indeed come from the Lee campaign.
Back story after the jump.
At the end of May – just before the May 8th GOP Convention in Utah, a nasty mailer came out purportedly supporting Mike Lee and disparaging incumbent Bob Bennett with the use of popular LDS phrases and an image of a temple. To put it in perspective, 90% of the delegates identify as Mormon… so this is incredibly damaging.
The clear victim, as the Salt Lake Tribune alludes, is Mike Lee. It was designed to look like it had come from the Lee campaign, who categorically denies that they sent the flier. Anyone who is looking at this seriously and understands the damage done to the campaign would realize that it didn’t come from him. And obviously Bennett isn’t going to release literature blasting himself.
Which leaves Bridgewater’s camp.
So, did Bridgewater send this out? It’s murky, that’s for sure. If he didn’t, why won’t he say so? As Russ Walker says “Utah voters want this Senate race to be an honest debate on the issues. They don’t deserve to have the integrity of this election hijacked by political hacks bent on engaging in deceptive tactics.”
Be up front, Bridgewater. Don’t muddy the water. Your silence speaks volumes.