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Anonymous automated call shakes up Canyons School Board race

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24 2012 7:10 p.m. MDT

Iverson also confirmed that he has been endorsed by the Canyons Education Association — as have several other candidates for the Canyons School Board — but the group's contribution to his campaign represents less than 25 percent of his total fundraising.

Ross Rogers, president of the Canyons Education Association, said that all six candidates for the school board were interviewed by a committee of teachers. Based on their recommendations, the CEA endorsed incumbent Mont Millerberg in Precinct 1, Iverson in Precinct 7 and gave a dual-endorsement of Nancy Tingey and Clay Pearce in Precinct 3.

"We're not funding (Iverson)," Rogers said. "We gave him a small amount of money, like we did with Mont Millerberg, like we did with Tingey and Clay."

The phone message does not state who or what organization is responsible for the content of the call. McCarty said he did not know who initiated the calls, and Canyons District spokesman Jeff Haney said that, to his knowledge, no district employees were involved in the making of the automated message.

Mark Thomas, a member of the lieutenant governor's staff who oversees elections, said state law requires political advertisements to disclose their origins. Because the phone message in Draper stops short of telling residents to vote or not vote for a particular candidate, it falls within a legal gray area where disclosure laws are potentially moot.

Despite McCarty's denial, Iverson said he still suspects his opponent had some knowledge of the automated message.

"I don't know who's financing it," Iverson said, "but it's obviously my opponent who's supporting it."

McCarty said he and his family have received angry messages, threats and false accusations throughout the campaign, but at no point has he placed blame on his opponent. He said he's been shocked by the amount of negativity surrounding a school board election and that the race should focus on the district's achievements.

"I've never encountered anything like this in a campaign, with all this negativity," he said. "I insist on putting children before politics."

E-mail: benwood@desnews.com

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