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UT-Sen: Kennedy campaign accused of falsely implying endorsements

Senate candidate Dr. Mike Kennedy was accused of implying an endorsement from someone who did not support him. Image source: "CBS News"

A campaign for one of Utah's seats in the U.S. Senate has been accused of claiming endorsement from people without their consent, and of photoshopping an image to imply endorsement from a Democratic state representative.

Who is the candidate?

Dr. Mike Kennedy is running against Mitt Romney for a Senate seat that will soon be vacated when Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) retires at the end of this year. Although Romney is favored to win the June 26 primary, Kennedy earned more delegates than Romney at the nominating convention and forced Romney to compete in a primary.

First, the endorsements

On June 8, Kennedy released a list of endorsements. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that one of the people listed as endorsing Kennedy, state representative Scott Chew, had not actually endorsed. But there seem to be no hard feelings from this error. Chew told the Tribune: “I really like Mike Kennedy and have enjoyed working with him,” and a spokesperson for the Kennedy campaign told the Tribune that they thought that Chew had confirmed his endorsement, and that the whole thing was probably due to "miscommunication."

According to the Tribune, a few other state lawmakers were also suprised that their names were included, but seemed to gladly confirm that they now endorsed him.

Then the photo

While the people who were allegedly mistakenly attributed with endorsing Kennedy seemed to support him in the long run, the same cannot be said for a Democratic state respresentative who appeared in a campaign ad for him.

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss stood behind Kennedy while the candidate spoke at the launch of the bipartisan Utah School Safety Commission on March 1. The image was later edited to show Kennedy's campaign logo on the podium.

“I was more amused than angry about the photo,” Moss told TheBlaze, “as I can’t imagine that having Democrats standing next to him is politically helpful to him, and I can assure you it doesn’t help me with my constituents (both R’s and D’s) to be seen in his ads. Since Mitt Romney lives in my district, nearby, in fact, he has strong support in my community. Many of them are people who also support me.”

Moss also said that she believed the move would hurt the credibility of the Utah School Safety Commission.

The most egregious part of this issue is that his creation of the Utah School Safety Commission has now lost credibility with me and many others since we see it as a political move, not a sincere desire to address the concerns of school shootings.

Kennedy's campaign was contacted, but had no comment about Moss's photo.

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