“Would you like to commit crimes?” the text message might as well have asked.
In the all-consuming Texas Senate race, Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s campaign has been obligated to deny that its staffers sent messages to Texans asking if they would help to transport undocumented immigrants to polling places so they could vote. To commit voter fraud, in other words.
The New York Times outlined the strange story with the O’Rourke campaign’s denials:
Screenshots of the messages circulated on Twitter before the Times wrote up the story.
O’Rourke’s campaign has aggressively used text messaging to reach voters, the Times’s Kevin Roose noted. But what is described in these fraudulent messages — helping nonvoters vote — would obviously be a violation of Texas election laws (or those of any other state). Deliberate and unambiguous voter fraud.
The Times reported that the identity of the person or people sending the messages posing as O’Rourke’s campaign has not been discovered. Obviously, some Democrats have cast suspicious glances toward Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and the Texas GOP.
It is another bizarre turn in one of 2018’s most heavily covered Senate campaigns. O’Rourke is polling within a few points of Cruz on average, and the pages and websites of every major political publication in the country have been overflowing with stories about the young (and handsome) Democratic candidate.
Cruz and Texas Republicans, perhaps caught off guard by such a strong challenge in what was thought to still be a safely red state, have turned to increasingly odd tactics to counter the O’Rourke momentum.
The Cruz campaign started by mocking the white Beto for taking a more Latinized version of his real first name, Robert (O’Rourke says he’s had the nickname since he was a baby). The Texas GOP then sent out a string of tweets mocking O’Rourke’s past as a rock musician and a once-convicted drunk driver.
Now somebody out there has decided to pose as O’Rourke staffers to propose perpetrating blatant voter fraud. Even the stupid political hackery is bigger in Texas.