The design of endorsement letters for gubernatorial candidate Spencer Cox are causing some Republicans to question campaign ethics.
One Herald Journal reader sent a photo of the letter — endorsed by Mayor Holly Daines and seeming to have a “phony-looking letterhead” for Logan City — asking if cities were now endorsing candidates. The letter isn’t on the city’s official letterhead, but it does have “LOGAN CITY” in bold, all-capital letters centered at the top of the page.
Daines said “the appearance of the letter was unfortunate.”
“I do endorse Spencer Cox and approved the letter that was sent by his campaign,” she said. “However, I thought it would go out on campaign letterhead. Although what was mailed is not city letterhead, it could have that appearance.”
Daines apologized for the “inappropriate” letterhead and said she was frustrated the appearance of the letter was not made more clear before it was sent out.
Heather Barney, a spokesperson for the Cox for Governor campaign, said the letters were not designed to give the impression that cities or counties were endorsing Cox.
“It doesn’t even look like Logan city letterhead, whatsoever,” Barney said. “There’s no comparison there.”
Barney said the only reason for the city and county names at the top is to designate which area the endorser is from, but there have been similar complaints on social media that the letter appears to be from organizations, such as the Utah Rural Caucus (formerly known as the Cowboy Caucus), rather than individuals.
“This is not the truth and very misleading,” wrote Jim DeLaigle in one Facebook post. “The letter sent out carries no weight.”
Cache County Executive Craig Buttars also endorsed Lt. Gov. Cox but didn’t know the letter of endorsement would be going out with “Cache County” at the top until he received it in the mail.
“It caused me a little concern, but there is the notice at the bottom that it’s paid for by the Cox campaign,” Buttars said. “No one has approached me with concerns. I think most people can appreciate it for what it is.”
Buttars said the issue is probably gaining more attention due to the tight race in the Republican primary in addition to the “Jim Dabakis issue of efforts to get Democrats to change their voter registration.”
But in the end, he still endorses Cox.
The current lieutenant governor has received endorsements from 124 mayors throughout Utah, including 14 in Cache Valley.