Political ad plays on Mormon humor while also promoting third-party candidate

Logan resident Eric Eliason, a candidate of the United Utah Party, is challenging incumbent Rep. Rob Bishop, R-District 1

A Logan candidate of the United Utah party is trying to get people’s attention and grow support for his challenge to eight-term U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-District 1, with a little Mormon humor.

Faced with getting his party’s name out as well as his own, Eric Eliason is running an early video ad focusing on the 16 years Bishop has been in Washington, with the light-hearted tagline “release the bishop.”

Eliason was a guest on KVNU’s For the People program Tuesday and spoke about the ad campaign.

“We definitely had to test it and make sure it would resonate well with Mormons and non-Mormons, as well,” Eliason said. “The overwhelming response was ‘you’ve got to do this.’ We want to laugh, we want to have a good time. After a lot of encouragement we decided to go with it.”

Eliason said he wanted to draw attention to the campaign and the race, in general. He explained that when he initially announced his candidacy to run a friend of his, who teaches Seminary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sent him a message with the words “release the bishop.” That’s what started the idea for the campaign.

Traditionally, political campaigns don’t begin to kick in to high gear until after Labor Day, but Eliason said it is crucial for his underdog campaign to get noticed now.

“There is a poll that goes out to determine who gets to participate in the Utah Debate Commission’s debates,” he explained.
“That poll is taking place next week. It matters that we draw attention now and that we start messaging now. We can’t wait.

Eliason said people are having fun with the ad, even Rep. Rob Bishop’s office. He said it is important to not have a controversial political ad, for once.

Running as a third party candidate, Eliason is hoping to capitalize on some of the anxiety some people feel about President Donald Trump and career politicians in Washington, DC.

According to the Associated Press, Democrat Lee Castillo’s campaign says the third-party candidacy could actually help their chances, while Bishop maintains voter confidence in him will carry him to his final term.

Eliason said he will have a booth at the Cache County Fair where potential voters can visit with him and get to know his campaign better.

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