It was only a few keystrokes, but it was enough to stir up a controversy in Carbon County's Democratic Party and embarrass party chairman Ed Chavez Jr.
As Mr. Chavez explained it in an interview Wednesday, he received an e-mail from county commission candidate Kyle Edwards which urged voters to take part in the June primary election and not to wait until the final election in November. Mr. Chavez said it seemed like a good idea at the time, so he forwarded it to his mailing list of county employees and other Democratic party faithful.
But he did not pay much attention to the subject line, which read, "Vote Kyle Edwards for Carbon County Commissioner."
People who received the e-mail thought it looked like an endorsement by Mr. Chavez, which he insists he did not intend.
"I made a mistake, and I'm sorry," he stated.
He also sent out an e-mail of his own to apologize for the slip.
"My intention was to get everyone out to vote in the primary election and not to support or endorse any candidates," he wrote. "I [sincerely] apologize to all the candidates and fellow Democrats that I have offended and will not let this happen again in the future," he concluded.
Mr. Chavez also said he misinterpreted the party's bylaws and thought that supporting candidates after the county convention was permissible.
"I never asked for an endorsement," Mr. Edwards declared when contacted about the situation. He then quipped that the "buzz" about the e-mail might help his campaign by enhancing name recognition.
"It's unfortunate," said Commissioner John Jones, who is Edwards' opponent in the coming election.
However, Mr. Jones had been on the road, first at the Utah State Capitol and then in Montana working on public lands issues, so he said he had not seen the e-mails and did not want to comment further.