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Mayor Anderson loses notable support

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They have some highly respected titles — head of the Utah State Office of Black Affairs, chairman of the Utah Democratic Black Caucus and the treasurer of the Democratic National Committee.

Besides prestigious jobs, this threesome also has asked that their names be removed from the supporters list on Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson's campaign literature.

"I did ask them to have my name removed," said Andrew Tobias, treasurer of the DNC, in a telephone interview from New York.

Adds Bonnie Dew, the state black affairs director: "They included my name on some literature without my permission. They never asked me. I am not an endorser of Rocky Anderson."

Ditto, says Michael Styles, chairman of the Utah Democratic Black Caucus.

"It was totally wrong and inappropriate," he said.

While requests for removal have been made, Anderson's latest campaign brochure does include Tobias as part of the "bipartisan support of Rocky."

His picture and name were also once part of Anderson's campaign Web site, with the words "Go Rocky Go" next to his mug shot. That picture and phrase have been taken down.

Sheryl Ivy, Anderson's campaign manager, says the three cases stem from miscommunication.

"There certainly were oversights," she said. "But they were perfectly innocent misunderstandings on our part."

Tobias met the mayor at a Salt Lake gay Pride Day gathering and liked what the mayor had to say. But Tobias, who has to be loyal to his national party, says he can't endorse Anderson since the mayor backed Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's election bid.

Bonnie Dew, whose boss is Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt, was similarly shocked to see her name appear on Anderson's campaign literature.

Apparently the confusion came after one of Rocky's campaign coordinators, Lindsey Shorthouse, asked Bonnie Dew's husband, Gordon Dew, to support Anderson. Gordon Dew said yes.

"My husband endorsed and signed and they assumed — I don't know why, maybe they just thought a good wife just goes along with her husband — that I also endorsed him. But I didn't," Bonnie Dew said.

"That was an oversight on our part," Ivy said.

Styles, too, was surprised to discover his name included as an Anderson supporter.

"We weren't ready to endorse anybody yet," Styles explained. "However, my name appeared on Mayor Anderson's list that I endorsed him. The point was that we haven't endorsed yet, so my name shouldn't be on there."

Ivy said the Anderson campaign did receive numerous telephone calls and e-mails from Styles indicating he liked the mayor. From those communications, the campaign made the logical leap that Styles was a supporter willing to have his name included on campaign literature.

"The only thing we didn't have was a signed endorsement and we definitely try to back up every single endorsement with a signed endorsement slip," Ivy said.

Hugh Matheson, a political consultant who has run some successful statewide initiative campaigns, said such mistakes do occasionally happen in elections. However, most campaigns make sure their supporters are solid. For instance, when Matheson ran a successful campaign against a tax on radioactive waste in Utah, he took out a newspaper advertisement that included 700 names supporting his cause.

"We had written permission slips from every single one of those people," he said.

In the mayor's race, Matheson said the name revocations may underscore an underlying campaign issue for Anderson.

"For Mayor Anderson it drives home an issue that shows how much of the community he has alienated and drove away people who he thought were supporting him."

In general, Matheson continued, when name mix-ups like this happen "it's kind of a signal that a campaign is moving faster than its controls systems or management."

The municipal election is in November, with a primary whittling the field to two in October. Currently two candidates — Molonai Hola and Frank Pignanelli — are challenging Anderson. The filing deadline for the mayor's race is Aug. 15.

E-mail: bsnyder@desnews.com