Midterm Mayhem | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Midterm Mayhem 

PLUS: Prop 2 madness, awful political ads, an ode to Orrin and more!

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Pivoting to Video
Inside the election season's best ads, announcements and diatribes.
By Kelan Lyons

Love 'em or hate 'em, campaign commercials and announcements are the lifeblood of election season. Following is a breakdown of this year's most cringeworthy, head-scratching and downright funny political ads and ramblings:

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Shireen and the Bear
What happens: Shireen Ghorbani goes after opponent Chris Stewart, U.S. representative for Utah's 2nd Congressional District, for not protecting national monuments like Grand Staircase-Escalante, located in his jurisdiction.
Best part: When Ghorbani says, "We need someone who will stand up for our public lands" as a grizzly bear balances on its hind legs, implying the majestic predator will eat anyone who wants to privatize national monuments located in Utah.

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Ben McAdams' Rub-a-dub-dubbing
What happens: The Salt Lake County mayor and Rep. Mia Love challenger uses an elaborate bathing metaphor to explain that Washington, D.C., needs to be cleaned up so special interests don't run U.S. politics.
Best part: The moment McAdams' four kids kick their dad out of the bathroom so they, too, can shower, presumably all at the same time. Why are they all washing themselves, fully clothed, just like Ben? Is this how they do laundry?

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As the Wheels Turn
What happens: Friends of Mia Love mocks Ben McAdams' campaign bus in a nonsensical video that accuses "Big Spendin' McAdams" of extravagantly paying his aides and opposing tax cuts.
Best part: "Ben is not my friend," one gray-haired man declares, as if he and the congressional candidate were locked in a schoolyard squabble, not a political disagreement.

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Bill and Ben: BFFs?
What happens: Friends of Mia Love tries to connect Ben McAdams to the Clintons by simulating a voicemail from Bill on Ben's phone.
Best part: The "Actor Portrayal" disclaimer beside the picture of Clinton's voicemail. If any voter believes that recording was actually Clinton, the Russians should hire Friends of Mia Love to spread disinformation in the 2020 presidential election.

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Mitt's Medals
What happens: Mitt Romney declares he's running for U.S. Senate in a glossy vid that hits all the classic campaign staples: standing alone in a large room, telling people their state is awesome and, of course, hanging out in a diner.
Best part: When Mitt posts a selfie he took with young voters. Problem is, it only depicts the top half of his face, making it look more like a ransom demand than an earnest showing of how down young people are with his politics.

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Cox Votes Utah
What happens: Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox laments Utah being ranked 39th in national voter turnout in the 2016 election and urges residents to "get registered, get educated, get voting."
Best part: When Cox employs a host of U.S. clichés—catching a football, lighting a firecracker—to inspire Utahns to get off their asses and participate in our democratic republic. If Uncle Sam on stilts doesn't inspire you to cast a ballot, nothing will.

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Sweet Release
What happens: Utah 1st Congressional District third-party candidate Eric Eliason encourages voters to "Release the Bishop," referencing the 16-year incumbent Rob Bishop.
Best part: Because Bishop's not being held hostage, this must be a swipe at the congressman's and voters' religion. Only in Utah.

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Mitt to Bishop: Put Me In, Coach
What happens: Rob Bishop employs the tired "Vote for me because I represent Utah values" shtick while using a lot of baseball metaphors.
Best part: Romney's cameo. He appears out of nowhere on the ole baseball diamond, to throw his support behind Bishop, "a well-respected all-star and a team player who shares Utah values." What values? A love of watered-down beer?

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Reed's Rants
What happens: Reed Clair McCandless, a little-known candidate vying with Jenny Wilson and Romney for Orrin Hatch's seat in the U.S. Senate, uses a YouTube Channel to ramble to voters about his political opinions.
Best parts: McCandless' tiny nuggets of wisdom: "A spoiled spouse really wreaks havoc on a companionship," he says in one video. "Finances are tough, dreams are not always met, but we stay positive and we move forward," he says in another.

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#RealRepublican
What happens: Tim Aalders, a conservative radio host and U.S. Senate candidate whose website tells voters they "don't have to be stuck with progressive Mitt Romney in this upcoming election," pledges to represent all Utahns.
Best part: Two words: prairie dogs. Aalders says the disease-carrying ground squirrels invade farmers' lands because they're "smart," then implies a cull might be needed: "There's more prairie dogs out there than need to be protected."

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