Quantcast

Paul Rolly: Swallow's spokesman, conservative blogger get into Twitter tiff

Published June 4, 2013 4:09 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Paul Murphy, communications director for Utah Attorney General John Swallow, has been eager to defend his embattled boss and his former boss, previous Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

Perhaps he's been too eager.

Murphy sent out a tweet Saturday night critical of the news media's coverage of Swallow and then got into a Twitter exchange with former legislator and conservative blogger Holly Richardson, who is a member of the State Records Committee.

Richardson questioned Murphy on the wisdom of taking on the press, "with that whole ink-by-the-barrel thing."

Murphy tweeted back that the media can take teasing, to which Richardson responded that his rant didn't seem like teasing.

Then it got interesting.

Murphy tweeted that he should have added it was a "rim shot." But that response didn't come from his normal Twitter account. It came from the Amber Alert Twitter account.

It was about 9 p.m. on Saturday, so perhaps Murphy was tired. He quickly realized his mistake and took it down. He then posted the same message from the proper Twitter account.

But there is irony in the Twitter thread referring to his criticism of the media on an account that is a collaboration between the press and law enforcement to find missing children.

Speaking of eagerness • Newly elected Davis County Republican Chairman Phill Wright, in the excitement over his victory at Saturday's County Convention, wrote on his Facebook page that he not only defeated his opponent, Swen Howard, but also Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Greg Bell.

The latter two, along with several other GOP officeholders, had endorsed Howard over the tea-party-backed Wright.

So Wright's claim of defeating the two top officeholders in the state and the implication of a divide between Davis County Republicans and the GOP establishment set off a bit of a firestorm on social media.

Thomas Wright, who just stepped down as the state's Republican chairman, posted on Twitter a quote from Phill Wright's campaign site that said: "I have succeeded in bringing people of different opinions together." Then Thomas Wright added: "Um. You aren't proving it."

Phill Wright said it had been a long day, he was tired and he misspoke when he posted that boast on his Facebook page. He said when he realized what he had written, he took it down.

"That wasn't what I meant to say," he told me. "I have nothing but respect for [Herbert and Bell]. There is nothing negative between us. I believe in uniting, not dividing, the party and I will convey that in a future post on Facebook."

Davis County Republicans have had their drama during the past couple of years under the leadership of the previous GOP chairwoman, Kris Kimball, whose United Women's Forum is an offshoot of the Utah Eagle Forum.

Other GOP groups shied away from some of Kimball's invitations to party get-togethers. They worried the meetings were designed to meet the Eagle Forum's agenda rather than the party's.

So Phill Wright may have his work cut out for him as a unifier, considering the bump in the road right at the start.

Planning ahead • I recently noted a posting on the Utah Public Notice website announcing a meeting of the Department of Workforce Services' State Homeless Coordinating Committee Board in the Capitol Board Room scheduled for Sept. 12, 2020, at 2 p.m.

Another recent posting on the site announced a meeting of the Utah Forestry Board in Logan to discuss memorial trees, the mission statement and Tree City USA. That meeting, according to the site, will be held Sept. 24, 4597, at 6:30 p.m.

Mark your calendars.

prolly@sltrib.com