In mid-November 2011, the Mayor of West Valley City, Utah was discovered to have been submitting letters to the Deseret News and other media outlets that got published. Mayor Mike Winder was discovered to be the fictional “Richard Burwash”, and the Mayor left his job as a PR professional, and is now involved in a lawsuit involving an article written by “Burwash“.
Now Winder is campaigning for Mayor of Salt Lake County in Utah, and he is running headlong into the Richard Burwash controversy, even helping to fan the flames.
In the first instance, when the Richard Burwash incident came up at a debate with his opponent, Democrat Ben McAdams, Winder made statements that sought to turn it around into a positive.
Someone may (bring up) a certain pen name incident that happened last year,” Winder said about midway through the 90-minute debate at The Leonardo. “You might have heard of it.”
“I think people who know me know that my skeletons (all have been revealed),” Winder said. “There is no October surprise. There is nothing more in store. There is no shoe that will drop.”
Now, the latest development is even stranger. Signs have popped up in Utah that mimic Winder’s signs, but instead say “Richard Burwash for Mayor”.
A handful of the signs have been spotted in the Salt Lake Valley, posted next to those of Winder. Aside from the font used on the fictional candidate’s name and the word “mayor,” the Burwash campaign signs are identical to Winder’s.
“I wish the new candidate in the county mayor’s race well,” Winder wrote on his Facebook page, “and hope he lets me have one of his signs after June 26 as a souvenir.”
“There is obviously some humor in it,” Winder said when asked for his opinion on the signs. “But they got the font wrong.”
All of his opponents deny being involved with the Burwash signs. Could Winder himself be involved with the fake signs? (He denies being involved.)
It’s all very fishy, but brings up some good questions for people campaigning for local office.
When faced with scandal of any kind, what’s the best way to deal with it? Do you run past it, or run with it, as Winder seems to be doing?
Leave your thoughts in the comments!
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