Mark Shurtleff has heavily promoted the Utah attorney general’s office’s aggressive online presence in the fight against Internet-based crime. But the ambitious Republican politician found out Tuesday his enthusiastic deployment of technology can backfire.
Shurtleff tweeted himself in the foot.
What he thought were direct, private messages to a campaign insider instead went to his public Twitter.com profile. He spilled his plans to raise $2 million to challenge Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, in the 2010 election.
Shurtleff’s social-networking pratfall isn’t unique. Other politicians, celebrities, top business people and many regular users of the microblogging service have “mistweeted.” But this probably is the first time a serious planned U.S. Senate campaign has been blown open on Twitter by the candidate himself.
I’m guessing Bennett doesn’t tweet. For one thing, he hasn’t ever needed to use guerrilla tactics to win. He’s been able to mail in his re-election campaigns in safely GOP Utah. He’s the “Oh, yeah, he’s the other senator” vanilla sidekick to the publicity hound Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Shurtleff must be hoping to tap the populist sentiment arising from the economic collapse and the ever-sorrier image of Congress and all of its incumbents. But maybe he should hire a savvy social-networking campaign aide to keep him out of further Twitter troubles.