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Storm blamed for early morning Scott Howell wake-up call

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 30 2012 6:07 p.m. MDT

Democratic challenger Scott Howell speaks with reporters during a news conference following the VoteUtah 2012 U.S. Senate Debate with U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, in Provo, Utah.  (Rick Bowmer, ASSOCIATED PRESS) Democratic challenger Scott Howell speaks with reporters during a news conference following the VoteUtah 2012 U.S. Senate Debate with U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, in Provo, Utah. (Rick Bowmer, ASSOCIATED PRESS)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns who received an aggravating wake-up call from Scott Howell's Senate campaign early Tuesday morning may want to curse the East Coast superstorm.

And to make up for the 6 a.m. calls, Howell intends to treat voters to a pancake breakfast.

The campaign had scheduled a New York-based company to make 127,000 robocalls Tuesday starting at 9 a.m. MDT. But the storm forced workers to evacuate after they had the calls queued up in the computer system but before they were able to double-check  the release time, said Howell campaign spokesman Paul Pugmire.

"People's phones starting ringing at 6 o'clock, and our phones started ringing at 6:05," he said. "We really feel terrible about it. It's not something we wanted to do. It's a perfect storm, literally, of events."

About 3,800 calls went out, mostly to 435 area codes in Logan, before the Howell campaign could get the system shut down. Howell, a Democrat, is challenging six-term Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.

"This is an unfortunate thing, not purposely done as many of the folks who received calls thought," Pugmire said. "We're going to smile through the pain and try to make it good."

To make amends, Pugmire said the campaign plans to hold a pancake breakfast Friday morning.

Details are still being worked out, he said. But he promises it won't start at 6 a.m.

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