By Aaron Blake - 05/13/09 09:05 AM EDT
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (R) inadvertently tipped his hand Tuesday that he’ll enter the primary against Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) in 2010, falling victim to the very technology another primary candidate used to enter the race on purpose.
Following a Twitter announcement from former congressional candidate Tim Bridgewater (R) that he would challenge Bennett, Shurtleff fired off a series of Twitter messages that he thought were private.
“I'm announcing I'm running at 12," he wrote in one.
“it will also be against Bennett and I’ll pick up his delegates when he drops off the first ballot,” Shurtleff writes, apparently referring to the multi-ballot nominating process at the Utah GOP’s state convention.
He says in another that he will have “all of the legislative conservative causcus [sic] and other senators and representatives there endorsing me. Time to rock and roll!"
Finally, Shurtleff seems to realize the messages he thought were responses to an individual were actually going out to everybody following his feed. He deleted them, but they were saved for posterity.
Tweeting from Israel, where he is on a trade mission, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, he promised to make an official announcement next week.
“Thinking of ‘texting while drowsy’ law after private 1AM tweet went public,” he wrote. “Formal announcement on 5/20 about senate race and tweeting plans”
Bennett has said Shurtleff would pose his most formidable reelection challenge ever, and nobody knows for sure what will happen with the state's odd nominating process.
Last cycle, Republican Jason Chaffetz nearly took the 60 percent of the delegates he needed to take a congressional nomination from incumbent Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah). The two went to a primary, where Chaffetz unseated Cannon.