GOP delegates saw the use of the religious symbols as inappropriate and the direct-mail piece -- purporting to support Senate candidate Mike Lee -- may have been among the factors that cost Lee his front-runner status at the Utah Republican Convention earlier this month, according to a survey by Brigham Young University's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy.
"It was very offensive to most who received it and most who heard about it," said Ryan McCoy, who was Lee's campaign manager.
The mailer, which arrived in delegates' mailboxes on the eve of the convention, showed Lee's picture above the LDS Temple and Bennett's above the U.S. Capitol and asked, "Which Candidate Really Has Utah Values?"
More than a third believed, at least initially, that the flier came from the Lee campaign. Delegates -- 90 percent of whom identified themselves as Mormon -- told Lee volunteers it was disgusting that the campaign would send out such material, McCoy said.