There are facts. Then there are Jenny Wilson’s facts about Mitt Romney

April 29, 2018 GMT

This is why people give up on politics.

Jenny Wilson is running for the U.S. Senate.

As a Democrat.

In Utah.

So she already faces long odds.

But she didn’t help her chances by accusing Mitt Romney, a Republican front-runner, of cheating while gathering signatures to get on the ballot — and refusing to back down even when confronted with proof she was wrong.

RELATED:

 “Romney didn’t illegally gather voter info, despite Wilson’s claims”

We already have enough politicians in Washington who see the truth as something that can be manipulated according to political necessity. Utahns need to ask themselves if we really need one more.

Wilson, a member of the Salt Lake County Council, quickly emerged as the leading Democratic candidate to succeed Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is retiring after seven terms. She won the nomination Saturday at the state convention.

ADVERTISEMENT

Romney didn’t do as well a week earlier, losing at the GOP convention to Utah Rep. Mike Kennedy. But since he gathered voter signatures, Romney still qualified for the June primary.

RELATED

: “Romney forced into primary for Utah Senate seat”

Wilson believes she’ll face the former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate in November. Which, given Romney’s name recognition and financial resources, is probably a safe bet.

So, citing a story in Utah Reports, Wilson accused Romney of violating the Utah nomination process by collecting email addresses and phone numbers along with voter signatures.

“It is almost unbelievable that the Romney campaign would seek to manipulate the system in such a patently illegal way,” Wilson said in her April 20 news release. “I can’t imagine why he feels he needs to cheat to win a U.S. Senate Seat.”

Perhaps that’s because he didn’t break the law or cheat.

Wilson’s accusation that Romney had committed a crime prompted an Associated Press investigation. Asking voters to voluntarily provide their emails and phone numbers doesn’t violate Utah election law, Brady McCombs reported in an AP Fact Check.

What kind of dogged sleuthing led to McCombs’ bombshell conclusion?

He asked Justin Lee, Utah’s director of elections, if Romney had done anything shady.

No, Lee said in a statement. Romney’s people simply asked if they could add a sheet to the official template for signatures, where voters could provide their email addresses and phone numbers if they chose.

ADVERTISEMENT

Lee’s office told Romney the sheet was acceptable as long as the campaign informed voters that legally, they didn’t need to provide additional data.

It did, so collecting the information was legal, Lee said.

But the Utah Reports story referenced by Wilson didn’t just raise the possibility that Romney had broken the law; it also suggested state election officials had granted Romney “special privilege.”

Wrong again, Lee said. Romney’s people just happened to see the opening first.

“If any other campaign had asked the same question, the result would have been the same,” Lee noted in his statement to McCombs.

That failed to impress Wilson, who said in order to be fair, elections officials needed to tell all candidates what Romney was doing.

For someone who’s served two terms as an elected official, that displays a troubling grasp of politics.

But that’s not the worst part.

Wilson, informed that the Romney campaign had not cheated or violated the law, refused to admit she was wrong; she still says he could’ve acted illegally.

At a certain point, facts don’t matter to Jenny Wilson. She’s only intent on winning.

We’ve already got enough politicians like that in Washington.