Democrats object to opponents' campaign ads

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A pair of Democrats is crying foul over campaign ads from their opponents they call "blatant misrepresentations."

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder is asking challenger Beau Babka to apologize and pull his radio ads that refer to the fee for the Unified Police Department in unincorporated Salt Lake County.

Those two facts are blatantly misrepresented and untrue. Babka should know that.

–- Sheriff Jim Winder

The line in question says, "The current sheriff initiated and went along with imposing a new fee for the service that we already pay for."

The sheriff called a press conference to blast the ad. "Those two facts are blatantly misrepresented and untrue. Babka should know that," Winder says.

Winder says the idea to impose a fee came from Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and the Salt Lake County Council, and when he found out about it, he fought it.

I don't intend to pull that ad and I don't intend to apologize.

–Beau Babka

"I personally met with Mayor Peter Corroon in his office and I lobbied him to pursue other revenue sources," Winder says.

Winder cited news reports that back his story. In a report which aired on KSL 5 News in February, Winder came out swinging against the fee.

"I can fight it all I want internally. I have no power to stop it," he said at the time. "I, as the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, cannot - nor would I - raise taxes or impose fees."

Republican candidate Beau Babka stands by the 30-second ads and refuses to pull them or apologize. He says Winder didn't come out strongly enough against the fee.

"He knew all along what was happening," Babka says. "He's the executive of that organization. He was accountable for that."

Another radio ad is also raising controversy. Paid for by the Salt Lake County GOP, it's running in the hotly-contested race for Salt Lake County District Attorney between GOP incumbent Lohra Miller and challenger Sim Gill.

The ad says, "His experience of leading an office of 10 does not qualify him to lead an office of 230."

Gill objects to the numbers.

"There are 34 people in my office, so it's an absolute blatant misrepresentation," he says.

Salt Lake County Republican Party Chair Thomas Wright says, "Sim may have 30-plus employees (not to be confused with attorneys), but we are rightfully claiming that he is leading an office of 10 attorneys."

Wright says the ad is referring to 10 attorneys. But the ad actually refers to "leading an office of 10." Indeed, the city's website does list 34 people in Gill's prosecutor's office, which he manages.

Miller points out that the ad came from the party, not from her campaign.

In the latest KSL-TV/Deseret News poll, both Winder and Gill were leading, although the spread in the district attorney's race is within the margin of error.


Story written with contributions from John Daley and Paul Nelson.

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