AUSTIN (KXAN) — Campaign fundraising mail from Senator Ted Cruz is rubbing some Texans the wrong way. People in the Austin area asked KXAN to investigate campaign mailers that look like an official summons from your county government.
Turns out it’s a common, legal tactic — according to Politifact Texas — for campaigns to raise money and reach voters. The Cruz for Senate campaign has sent out millions of similar mailers.
When Sean Owen went to his deceased grandmother’s mailbox, a campaign mailer grabbed his attention.
“It seemed a bit over the line to represent it as an official document,” said Owen, who posted the mailer on Twitter. “It did get me to open it for sure… I normally throw away junk mail that says urgent or second notice. But in a way it was deceptive. It worked in its deception.”
A brown envelope described as an “Official Travis County summons” came in the mail from the Ted Cruz for Senate campaign. It’s meant to get voters to look at what comes in the mail. Texans are seeing it because the Cruz race versus Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke is getting close.
Owen told KXAN his grandmother was 88 when she recently passed away and he guesses she voted Republican.
“I wonder if it was targeted at someone like my grandmother who might have actually misunderstood it as an official document,” said Owen.
He wasn’t planning to vote for Cruz but the action made him an advocate for O’Rourke.
Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman from the Ted Cruz campaign for Senate tells KXAN, “Out of hundreds of thousands of mailers to the Austin area targeting likely supporters – clearly labeled on the front with “Ted Cruz for Senate” – there were a few complaints that came not to us but to the local media. Our mail efforts have been both effective and critical to identifying and engaging our supporters, and getting them involved in our campaign efforts to keep Texas strong.”
Tuesday, Houston area State Rep. Gene Wu went to Twitter to claim the mailer from the Cruz campaign may, in fact, be breaking state law, based on deceptive trade practices.
KXAN reached out to Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore. A spokesperson responded to KXAN, saying, “We have received a complaint; however, it is our policy not to discuss matters related to an ongoing election.”