Five Signs Doug Owens Doesn’t Plan on Winning

Democrat Doug Owens says he's running for Congress, but it's hard to tell whether he's running to win or if he's just building name id for another race.

Democrat Doug Owens says he’s running for Congress, but it’s hard to tell whether he’s running to win or if he’s just building name id for another race.

Democrat Doug Owens is running for Congress in Utah’s Fourth Congressional District.

Or at least he is on paper.

In real life, it looks like another thing.  Whether he’s wowing us with his pie-making skills or telling us that the chaos in his campaign has been the plan all along, the Owens campaign seems doomed.

And that’s all without even mentioning his opponent (Mia Love), her party affiliation (Republican) in a Republican leaning district, or her monetary advantage (she’s raised more than any challenger or candidate for any open Congressional seat in this cycle and has $872,999 in cash on hand). 

Could he be running a shell campaign? Or maybe he’s not really running for Congress this time, but just to build his name ID for a run down the road?

In this May 20, 2014, file photo, Republican Mia Love, left, and Democrat Doug Owens, candidates for Utah's 4th Congressional District, responds to questions during the annual conference of the Utah Taxpayers Association, in Salt Lake City. Front-runner congressional candidate Love has gained even more ground on her Democratic challenger over the past three months, raising an average of about five times as much money as Doug Owens every day. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

In this May 20, 2014, file photo, Republican Mia Love, left, and Democrat Doug Owens, candidates for Utah’s 4th Congressional District, responds to questions during the annual conference of the Utah Taxpayers Association, in Salt Lake City. Front-runner congressional candidate Love has gained even more ground on her Democratic challenger over the past three months, raising an average of about five times as much money as Doug Owens every day. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

A so-called “goodwill” campaign?  After all, maybe Mia will bomb her first term, his thinking might go, and Doug can run again in two years with stronger name ID and more “goodwill.” Or for Governor in 2016. Or Senator.

Goodwill campaign or shell campaign, here are five signs the Doug Owens campaign for Congress looks “Dead on Arrival”.

5. The Pie Shell Campaign

In an effort to prove his “American as Apple Pie”-ness, Doug Owens released the video below, in which he awkwardly demonstrates how to make an apple pie. It’s not the most bizarre campaign idea, but it sure is odd. If his culinary skills were going to get him attention, he should have made a “Better than Sex” cake. That, at least, would have garnered some attention.

On the other hand, Bryan Schott thinks it might have been a way to “humanize” Owens, show he was a stay-at-home dad of four while his wife finished her medical residency. Because, you know, nothing says middle class like a lawyer and a doctor raising a family of four…

Page by Bryan Schott - Wanna Watch Democrat Doug Owens Bake a Pie?

Page by Bryan Schott – Wanna Watch Democrat Doug Owens Bake a Pie?

4. Roughin’ it, with Doug.

Again, with the video. White, male, stay-at-home dad lawyer who lives on the east bench of Salt Lake City…up against, well, the American success story in Mia Love: the child of immigrants, self-made, mayor of a small town in middle Utah where  people live who aren’t lawyers, doctors, or CEOs–just average, working people. In short, the middle class that Doug wants to “protect,” but not the upper class he lives among.

3. Advertising for a Campaign Manager

One minute Emily Hollingshead, a well-known (to some, on the left at least) local Democratic politico, was running things for Owens, taking shots at Love, working the press, and planning a pound the pavement campaign. You know, like the kind that have worked out so well for lone wolf Jim Matheson for over a decade.

The next minute (sometime around the time we were learning how to make a “guy pie”), the Owens campaign is advertising on Democratic job boards for a campaign manager. Because, you know, asking local Democrats, Jim Matheson, or even the national party for some recommendations would be far too private.

And who did they hire? Someone who had never been to Utah, of course. Makes total sense.

Unless winning isn’t really part of the equation.

Republican Mia Love files paperwork to run again for Utah's 4th Congressional District, while campaign manager Dave Hansen looks on. (March 17, 2014)

Republican Mia Love files paperwork to run again for Utah’s 4th Congressional District, while campaign manager Dave Hansen looks on. (March 17, 2014)

2. Dave Hansen

Okay, this isn’t really a sign of why Owens isn’t running to win this election so much as a sign that the Owens campaign is DOA.  Hansen isn’t Karl Rove (yet), but as far as Owens is concerned, he might as well be. Hansen has this election planned out twelve ways to Christmas. And Christmas is coming in November.

1. Planned Chaos From the Beginning

Apparently, the chaos in the campaign is planned. Everyone watch out for head fakes at the next debate!

While its well known that Hollingshead was pushed out  left because she and the candidate could not agree on campaign strategy, Owens has played it off like he intended it this way all along.

She said:

“Doug and I just didn’t see eye to eye on how things should go,” Hollingshead said Monday. “It was a kind of mutually agreed upon change.”

He said:

“We always planned to bring on an experienced manager,” said the first-time candidate. “I appreciate Emily’s contributions to launch the campaign.

“I’m thrilled to have Casey Frary officially on board as our first full-time campaign manager.”

Don’t let the back wheels of the bus hit you on the way by, Emily.

Never mind that grand total of Frary’s campaign experience in Utah (a red state) is ZERO and her campaign management skills are limited to a reelection campaign in Wisconsin (a blue state) in 2008 (when Obama rode to office on that message of Hopey Changey stuff).

Now, in 2014, with the President’s ratings digging to find the bottom and with Mia Love one of the biggest names in Utah, Doug kicks his local talent to the curb and hires an “experienced manager.”

Manager for what? His goodwill campaign?

Good luck with that.

And welcome to Utah, Casey. Don’t miss out on the chance to see our beautiful state.


Don’t miss the Salt City Throwdown’s conversation with Doug Owens here.

The opinions expressed in the above post are those of the author alone.