DALLAS - A mysterious text message went out this week claiming to be from the Beto O’Rourke campaign. But the Texas Democrat says he certainly didn’t approve it.
The text reads in part, “Hi, it’s Patsy here with Beto for Texas. 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?”
The O’Rourke campaign has sent out a lot of text messages in support of his Senate run, they told FOX 4 it was sent by an imposter that sent the message and they are looking into it.
The New York Times reports it's believed to be a first-time volunteer who signed up under a fake name. The spokesman said an authentic follow-up text from the O’Rourke campaign was sent out Wednesday night apologizing for the earlier message, adding that steps are being taken to prevent any more unauthorized texts. It’s not clear how many people received the first text.
They are hardly the only campaign taking advantage of texting to get out the vote these midterm elections.
Sean Hassan is one of many voters who have been swamped with campaign and other political texts in the last week or so.
“I don’t know if it would sway undecideds at all, but for me, it’s pretty obnoxious,” Hassan said.
Eric Wilson is a Republican digital strategist who founded a newsletter on political marketing. He says texting has been a big technology for campaigns in 2018 despite the tech being around for more than a decade. That's because it cuts through the clutter.
“Inboxes, an email, and social media feeds are getting so crowded that it's becoming more and more difficult to reach voters,” Wilson said. “It’s not quite as time-consuming or as invasive as phone calls or going door to door.”
Unfortunately, with volunteers often manning apps and other technology used to send out the text messages, Wilson says the strategy can leave room for issues like what happened with the O'Rourke campaign.
“I think in light of today's news, campaigns are going to be a little more active in terms of who they are giving access to,” Wilson said.
The United States Senate race in Texas is heating up and every vote counts. Some polls have shown O’Rourke, a three-term congressman from El Paso within just a few points of incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, who is seeking a second term.
But, of course, people in this country illegally are not allowed to cast ballots in U.S. elections.
O’Rourke has been criticized by Cruz and his supporters for opposing efforts to toughen the nation’s immigration laws.
The Cruz campaign has not yet commented on the text.
O'Rourke and Cruz still have not finalized any formal debate dates.