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Unhacking Herbert

Published December 20, 2010 8:46 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Everyone loves political intrigue, so of course it got my interest when my colleague Thomas Burr caught this tidbit on Gov. Gary Herbert's Facebook page:

"Recently, someone hacked into my Facebook account and posted a message in support of Tom Wright for Utah GOP Party Chair. That was unfortunate. Obviously, as Governor, I cannot and will not (and HAVE NOT) endorsed a candidate for that position."

Ponder it: Someone – presumably a Wright supporter, or someone purposely trying to make it look like that's the case — hacked the governor's site to support Wright in a not-very-hotly-contested GOP race for state party chairman?

Dave Duncan of Utah County is the only other guy who has filed to run for the seat.

But, it turns out, the site really wasn't hacked at all.

The administrator of the Web site was told that Herbert thought Wright would do a good job as party chairman and went ahead and ran with it, posting it on the the governor's fan site.

So Herbert's campaign manager, Joe Demma, took it down and posted the message about the site being hacked – a kind of odd overreaction.

The governor's spokeswoman, Angie Welling, said Monday that "while the original message was posted in error, the page was not necessarily 'hacked.'"

"The governor is a longtime friend and sup porter of Thomas Wright, who has done an outstanding job as chairman of the Salt Lake County Republican Party and would do a similarly outstanding job as state party chair," she said.

The governor doesn't make endorsements until he's met all the candidates, so an endorsement would be premature, Welling said in an e-mail message.

That is assuming her e-mail wasn't hacked by Thomas Wright supporters.

— Robert GehrkeTwitter: @RobertGehrke