A simple thing like a business card was all it took to inject some life into a local campaign otherwise lost in the shuffle of a presidential election year.
Some staffers in the Salt Lake County Commission office are hopping mad because the office keeps getting telephone calls from people asking for Jim Bradley, the Democratic candidate for a four-year commission seat.Bradley is challenging Republican incumbent Mike Stewart, who is seeking re-election.
The callers got the commission office phone number from business cards Bradley is passing out as a campaign tool.
The angry staffers contend, among other things, that the calls waste taxpayer money by requiring them to spend time explaining to callers that Bradley is not a commissioner, but a candidate.
Bradley says he only wants people to know that he'll be an accessible commissioner, and he did not anticipate people misreading the card. He also believes the angry commission staffers are overreacting.
On the card face are printed Bradley's name and the words "Salt Lake County Commission," and this statement: "Government is for the people. When I am elected, please feel free to call me with your ideas, problems and suggestions." The numbers for Bradley's home and the commission office are then listed.
"My idea is that commissioners should be accessible to the people. I call this my calling card to government," Bradley said.
Stewart's reaction to the card and the calls was muted. The two-term commissioner said the Bradley card is an attention-getting campaign gimmick.
"The more fuss you make the more attention it draws, so I'm not making a fuss," Stewart said.
But Sue Evans, secretary to Commission Chairman Bart Barker, was upset.
"I work for the citizens of Salt Lake County," she said. "No one pays me to take (Bradley's) calls. I'm referring all his calls to his office."
Bradley's campaign manager Kerri Christenson said some very angry person from the commission office called her Thursday morning. "I didn't really know what to say," Christenson said. But she welcomes all calls referred to Bradley by commission staffers.
The Democratic challenger hopes to distribute as many as 66,000 of the cards before election day. He said the callers' misunderstanding of the cards' message won't stop him from passing them out.