Today is runoff election day in Texas, and there is no hotter race than the GOP race for Senate. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst squares off against former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination to replace retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
At 11:05 am central time this morning, central Texas resident Philip Hornsey says his phone rang. When he picked up, he says the call on the other end sounded like a robocall but within seconds it handed off to a real person. That person said he wanted to remind Hornsey to vote for Ted Cruz tomorrow. Tomorrow, August 1, is the day after the runoff vote.
Hornsey replied “Tomorrow? I believe the election is today.” The man on the other end responded “I’m sorry to hear that.” A moment of static followed, then the man said “misinformed.” Hornsey says that he hung up on the unidentified caller at that point. He told the story to his fiancee, who has experience working in political campaigns including McCain-Palin, and she suggested that he call Ted Cruz’s campaign office. He did, and the campaign informed him that they had received similar calls from concerned Texans. Hornsey provided the Cruz campaign the phone number that his caller ID showed, which is 972-349-6348. That area code, 972, is for the Dallas area. A reverse lookup found no links from that number to any entity.
Ted Cruz campaign manager John Drogin verified that several Texans have gotten such calls. One person told Drogin that the live person on the other end of the call said that they were required to stick with the script that they were supposed to use for the calls. Drogin added that one recipient said the mystery call came from a New Jersey number.
There were similar shenanigans over the weekend. The Cruz campaign held a rally with Sarah Palin in The Woodlands on Friday, and Drogin says Texans started receiving calls from a woman identifying herself as “Sarah” shortly thereafter, urging recipients of the call to support Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Drogin said that the deceptive calls are typical of the tactics the Dewhurst campaign has deployed in the days leading up to the runoff vote. Another Cruz campaign official hinted that the deceptive calls, if they are coming from the Dewhurst campaign, are not a tactic one would expect to see from a campaign that is confident of winning today’s vote.