Whodunit? Beto campaign says ‘imposter’ sent misleading texts

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — More shenanigans and tomfoolery appear in the most-watched political race in Texas, the battle for the US Senate seat currently held by Ted Cruz. 

According to his challenger’s campaign, someone infiltrated a volunteer outreach center for Democrat Beto O’Rourke, accessing a database of O’Rourke supporters and texted some of them misleading messages. 

“Hi, it’s Patsy here w/ Beto for Texas. Our records indicate that you’re a supporter. We are in search of volunteers to help transport undocumented immigrants to polling booths so that they will be able [to] vote. Would you be able to support this grassroots effort?” read the text. 

“That was not an approved message by the campaign. It was sent by an impostor. We’re continuing to look into what happened,” Beto communications director Chris Evans told KXAN.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Cruz’s campaign, Emily Miller, says it wasn’t them.

“Our campaign had no involvement in the alleged abuse of the O’Rourke campaign’s texting platform. We don’t condone anyone who would engage in such action,” said Miller.

One of the messages went to Frank Freeman in Houston.

“I thought they just spoofed it and it was somebody goofing off,” said Freeman.

Knowing more Thursday, he’s more concerned someone would send misleading texts to reinforce what he considers racially-based conspiracy theories. 

“They’ve always been looking for evidence for that, so it plays into that narrative,” said Freeman.

KXAN called the number that texted Frank Freeman and it went straight into the mass texting system with no answer. O’Rourke’s campaign uses the Relay voter outreach program.

“Politics is full of tomfoolery. It’s not unusual. What changes is technology and the method of the tomfoolery,” said Ross Ramsey, executive editor of the Texas Tribune. 

For the next two months, he says supporters of opposing candidates will try to dilute the other’s message. 

“A lot of people are just going to hear pieces of this. And there’s going to be some kind of misimpression left. And if you’re in the misimpression business, which apparently somebody here is, that’s a success,” said Ramsey.

The other message the “imposter” sent was asking for O’Rourke supporter’s views on socialism. 

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