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Senate candidate Scott Howell to apologize for robocalls with pancakes

Published: Thursday, Nov. 1 2012 2:19 p.m. MDT

Democratic Senate candidate Scott Howell speaks during a news conference Oct. 17, 2012, in Provo. He is holding a free breakfast in Logan to apologize to residents who received recorded 6 a.m. phone calls from his campaign.

Rick Bowmer, Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY — The pancakes Friday will be on Senate candidate Scott Howell.

Howell is holding the free breakfast to apologize to residents who received a 6 a.m. machine-generated telephone call from his campaign on Tuesday.

"We'd like to invite everybody we annoyed and everybody who wishes we had annoyed them," said campaign spokesman Paul Pugmire.

The pancake breakfast will be at Herm's Inn, 1435 E. Canyon Road, in Logan from 8 to 10 a.m. Most of the calls went to the Logan area.

The campaign blamed Hurricane Sandy for Utahns being awakened to Howell's voice seeking their vote. The Salt Lake Democrat is challenging longtime Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.

A New York-based company had 127,000 robocalls queued up in its computer system when the East Coast superstorm Sandy forced workers to evacuate. They weren't able to double-check the system before the calls started going out three hours earlier than planned.

"America needs a wake-up call but not from a machine at 6 o'clock," Pugmire said.

About 3,800 calls went out, mostly to 435 area codes in Logan, before the Howell campaign could get the system shut down.

"We really feel terrible about it," Pugmire said. "It's not something we wanted to do. It's a perfect storm, literally, of events."

Dennis Romboy

Twitter: dennisromboy

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