First, these two posts from Senate District 16 Democratic Senate Candidate RaDene Hatfield:
The following is the text of an email I sent out early on Friday Oct. 17th:
I have just returned home from my local gym. On the way I saw that many of my opponent’s signs in our neighborhood had been vandalized. An expensive banner hanging on his fence was slashed and removed. Signs were taken off their stakes. Another was spray painted.
This action makes me sick. This type of vandalism should not be tolerated in our community. Please, on behalf of the Committee to Elect RaDene, spread the word: political sign vandalism is demeaning and unbecoming of our Provo Community. It violates the Christian principles of honesty, respect of property, and kindness.
If you know anyone who was involved in this activity, please ask them to do what is right: restore what they have damaged, and apologize.
OK, this first one makes a lot of sense. Nobody wants their campaign signs damaged, so you call on your supporters to stop doing it to your opponent's signs. It's called being the adult.
Now, this next one, posted Monday afternoon comes off a little more cryptically:
I know, you probably don’t believe that it is possible to run a clean political campaign, but I do. And if it can be done anywhere - it ought to be in Provo! It’s simple. All you have to do is follow some very basic ‘Sunday School Rules’:
1) Be kind and respectful to those you are running against (be slow to judge)
2) Follow the Golden Rule (do to them as you would want them to do to you)
3) Respect personal property (do not steal or damage signs, banners, or brochures)
4) If you disagree with your opponent - reach out to them first. Do not write anonymous notes, threaten legal action, or gossip.
5) If you do something wrong, apologize.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Sadly in this day and age we’ve become obsessed with ‘being right’ instead of ‘doing right’. Still, just think how much more productive our campaign season would be if we could really focus on the issues that face our community and put our time and collective knowledge to work on finding solutions instead of wasting our time on dirty politics.
That’s what I am trying to do.
When I read this, I knew something was up. But what?
Then came this post from UTGOP.net, sent from Mrs Hatfield's Husband Harlan to Senate Majority Leader Curt "Check" Bramble:
20 October 2008
Dear Mr. Bramble: I was deeply disturbed to learn that you and several members of your campaign team approached RaDene while she was campaigning alone on State Street and 800 South in Provo on Saturday. It was completely inappropriate for you to speak harshly to her and persist when she told you the conversation was over.
RaDene is basing her campaign on the idea that respectful communication is necessary for the good of our community. But for good reason, in contested elections, like in litigation, the parties involved keep a respectful distance. It is too easy, as was the case for RaDene on Saturday, for one party to feel threatened. Your aggressive and vague accusations while she was alone, away from her car and supporters, but while you were surrounded by yours, would be unsettling to anyone in her position. Please do not approach RaDene again while she is alone during this campaign.
The truth is that both campaigns have suffered from sign vandalism, threatening anonymous messages, and other practices that are regrettable. One of our workers reported observing Saturday three persons wearing your campaign shirts removing literature from houses our workers had visited but where no one was home. We have instructed our campaign workers to not disturb any other campaign literature they come across, and trust you will do the same. However, we do believe that much of the improper behavior comes from third parties—perhaps unthinking teenagers or disgruntled residents that do not know better how to express themselves.
Meanwhile, we expect you to conduct a campaign free of intimidation and other behavior unbecoming a trustee of the public’s welfare, including the wellbeing of the election process. We will do the same.
To help hold both our campaigns to this standard, we are sending this letter to the press.
Harlan M. Hatfield