As a congressional candidate, Burgess Owens is accustomed to taking metaphorical hits. Over the weekend, though, his campaign took a more literal one.
A pickup truck ran into the 4th District candidate’s campaign headquarters in Midvale on late Friday night/early Saturday morning, causing significant damage to the building and the destruction of pretty much all the campaign’s materials stored inside, according to Owens’ Communications Director Jesse Ranney.
Owens’ Twitter account attributed the incident to a “runaway truck” and noted, “Thankfully everyone is safe.”
Ranney added how “surreal” it was to get a call about a truck hitting the building around midnight from the campaign’s political director, who heard the news from the building’s landlord.
While it was disappointing that everything inside — from the yard signs to the work desks — was destroyed, he said it was fortunate that the crash took place when it did, as the building had emptied out after hosting myriad staffers just hours before.
“We’re just grateful it happened when no one was there,” Ranney said. “… We have enough [leftover materials] to hit this little event, that little event. We’ll get a new order for signs in. And we’ll start to look for a new building on Monday.”
He said that in spite of the incident, the campaign went out Saturday morning like normal and proceeded with scheduled canvassing events in Herriman and Riverton. “We’re not slowing down.”
As for some responses to Owens’ tweet suggesting that perhaps it was an intentional act committed amid a charged political climate and a heated race against Rep. Ben McAdams, Ranney said he was under the impression from Unified Police Department that drunken driving was more likely the culprit than political sabotage.
A spokesman for UPD said he could not provide any additional details because the department’s records division was closed for the weekend.
“The assumption is it’s not [intentional],” Ranney said. “We just don’t think people in Utah would do that. … We’re operating under the assumption it was drunk driver.”