Coloradans Are Getting Mysterious Texts Bashing Democratic Senate Candidate John Hickenlooper
Colorado residents have reported receiving mysterious anonymous text messages that beat up Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper, who is trying to oust Republican Senator Cory Gardner in November.
The texts include a link to a 2014 Hickenlooper clip comparing the work of a political planner with that of a slave ship, and an article in the Washington Post on a recent ethical scandal. An independent Colorado ethics committee said Hickenlooper violated the law as governor in 2018 by accepting private jet and Maserati limousine trips. The texts call Hickenlooper "out of touch" and warn that it poses a risk to the Democrats' chances of turning the Senate around.
Political texts should require paid information, just like mail and television advertising. This amount of anonymous lyrics spanking @Hickenlooper is not accountable or transparent, and frankly, if you go negative, you have the courage to put your name on it. # chose #copolitics
9:24 p.m. - June 17, 2020
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Some of the recipients tweeted that they had replied to the texts asking for their origin but had received no response.
June 17, 2020
Political texts, like email and television advertising, should require paid information. This amount of anonymous lyrics spanking @Hickenlooper is not accountable or transparent, and frankly, if you go negative, you have the courage to put your name on it. # chose #copolitics
So annoying. You never answer.
10:45 p.m. - June 17, 2020
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Text-based political campaigns are commonplace these days, as candidates and political parties use cell phone numbers to gather, organize, and vote more voters. But Colorado has strict political messaging disclosure laws. Political candidates, political parties and thematic committees must either report directly in the text message or in a direct link in the primary message. According to federal disclosure laws, the company, individual, or business unit behind a political message must be clearly identified at the start of this release, including in text. However, some dark groups of money could fall between the cracks in these disclosure laws. Super-PACs have to disclose the election expenditure of the Bundestag election commission, but political non-profit organizations do not.
These texts do not say where they come from.
The text messages contained shortened links - truncated URLs - that can be traced back to Tele-Town Hall LLC, a Virginia-based company that conducts telephone political communications. The Colorado Republican Party previously used Tele-Town Hall, reporting $ 500 spending in January and another $ 8,800 for automatic voting last year. The company has not been reported to have been used in the past few months. Colorado GOP spokesman Joe Jackson said: "We definitely had nothing to do with the contracting states," adding that the contracting states have not yet conducted text campaigns about Hickenlooper in the Senate race. The national republican party also said it knew nothing about the texts.
The Hickenlooper campaign claimed to have received dozens of complaints about the texts and estimates that went into a "very wide universe of tens of thousands of primary democratic voters" based on a complaint from a supporter who was not found in the Democratic Party could voter contact database.
Hickenlooper, who served as governor from 2011 to 2019, leads the Democratic Senate election in Colorado and stepped in after a failed presidential bid last year. The area code is scheduled for June 30. It was approved by the Committee for Democratic Senator Campaigns to participate in the race.
Colorado is by far the Democrats' best chance of kicking a Republican out of the Senate. Head-to-head surveys in recent months have shown that Hickenlooper has a double-digit advantage over Gardner. But Hickenlooper is known for its gaffes and has now been persecuted by this violation of ethics. Gardner published an ad this week highlighting Hickenlooper's previous public comments that specifically stated that he did not want to run for the Senate.
In the past few weeks, Andrew Romanoff, a former member of the Colorado House of Representatives, has gained momentum by running to Hickenlooper's left. A recent internal poll from Romanoff's campaign found that he closed the Hickenlooper gap at 12 percentage points after leaving the former governor by 49 points last October. Romanoff's campaign said she knew nothing about the text campaign.
Hickenlooper's campaign blames the Republicans for the lyrics.
"Anonymous Republicans are trying to interfere in another Democratic Senate area code and are spreading misleading attacks knowing that John Cory will defeat Gardner," said campaign spokeswoman Melissa Miller. "Coloradans are not fooled, they know that John's job of bringing people together leads to results: expanding health care to another 500,000 Coloradans, protecting a woman's right to vote, adopting weapon security reforms and banning high-capacity magazines and implementing “Gold standard methane regulations. "
Gardner's campaign, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Tele-Town Hall did not respond to requests for comments.
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