would expect to see dirty politics coming out of the Clinton camp, but for a self-proclaimed hero of the Evangelical Christian community to pull deceitful, ethically questionable stunts in the first state to cast votes? We didn’t see that coming.
The Iowa Caucuses are important. They are the measurement, beyond the polls, of how a Presidential candidate is received when the people scrutinize them carefully. And with the exception of Donald Trump, this is often done in Iowa in one on one exchanges, in small gatherings and town hall type meetings.
The number of activists and supporters willing to stand up for a candidate in the Iowa caucus is used as a measuring rod for strength of a campaign going into the upcoming primaries. If a candidate does not place in the top four places in Iowa, the strength of the campaign comes into question. Within days of showing poor results the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum suspended their Presidential campaigns.
In the run-up to the caucus the citizens, as you can imagine, are deluged with campaign ads via media and mail. One in particular was quite disturbing, made the national news, and caused the Iowa Secretary of State to issue a criticizing statement.
The campaign of Ted Cruz sent a very official looking mailer out with the headline “Voting Violation.” The intent was to shame people into caucusing. It gave the recipient name at the top followed by names of their neighbors and a graded score of “”A” to “F” for voter turnout, insinuating that another would be sent out after the caucus and their neighbors would see that they did not vote.
“You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area
. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.”
Some residents were so upset by the mailer they changed their vote to another candidate.
The Iowa Secretary of State issued a statement saying that Cruz’s mailers,
“misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law.” “There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting…Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses.”
Getting Carson out of the Caucus
As the 2016 caucus went into in full swing on February 1st, candidate Dr. Ben Carson had, as he said to Fox News, “great intelligence that we were going to show well in several precincts.” But Dr. Carson decided to fly home to Florida ahead of a coming snowstorm and get a change of clothes and take care of some personal business. CNN reported live on the air at 6:43 Central time that “Dr. Carson was leaving Iowa. This is very unusual…’’ It was picked up by CNN from tweets being sent out by CNN’s Chris Moody. A few minutes later the CNN reporters laughed, “Dr. Ben Carson just flew home to get a change of clothes. It just goes to show you the candidates are just like the rest of us.” I happened to be watching this live as it happened.
Within minutes, at 6:43pm, the Tweeting CNN reporter Chris Moody corrected himself, sending out several Tweets saying “Ben Carson's campaign tells me he plans to stay in the race beyond Iowa no matter what the results are tonight.”
This was followed by several tweets from the Carson campaign that he was only flying home to take care of some personal business, then going to the National Prayer breakfast, not suspending the campaign.
Jumping on an opportunity, the Cruz campaign staff flew into action. Cruz Campaign voicemails were sent out to Iowa precinct captains at 7:07 and 7:29pm, according to research confirmed by Breitbart.com.
Later played on CNN, the voicemail said
“It has just been announced that Ben Carson is taking a leave of absence from the campaign trail, so it is very important that you tell any Ben Carson voters that for tonight, uh, that they not waste a vote on Ben Carson, and vote for Ted Cruz.”
The Cruz campaign also sent out the following email to supporters as they were going to caucus;
Breaking News. The press is reporting that Dr. Ben Carson is taking time off from the campaign trail after Iowa and making a big announcement next week.
Please inform any Carson caucus goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Cruz.”
Ben Carson’s wife was shocked when she arrived at two caucus sites that Cruz campaign workers had announced to the crowd that her husband was suspended his campaign. She spoke quickly correcting them, gave a speech to a welcomed audience, and in at least one of those appearances, Ben Carson won the vote in that location.
The Carson campaign strongly states that they had clarified before the time the calls to precinct captains were made that they were not suspending the campaign. The timing of the clarifying tweets from CNN backs that up. Carson was furious, as much as the mild manner Doctor can be, that the Cruz staff would not verify the information before making calls to organize the taking of Carson’s votes. He believes it speaks to the integrity of the Cruz campaign and asked that measures be taken.
The following Saturday night at a live ABC News hosted debate in New Hampshire, Dr. Carson looked Ted Cruz in the eye and told him it was wrong. Ted Cruz apologized and explained that “CNN had inaccurately reported live on television that Carson was suspending his campaign "from 6:30 p.m. to 9:15," and "didn't correct that story until 9:15 that night."
Carson called Cruz out on his timeline, responding that the CNN reporter had corrected his statement within minutes. Senator Cruz did not even blink.
CNN stood up to the allegations by Cruz saying “That is false. CNN never reported that Carson was suspending his campaign and never issued a correction, because there was no need to do so.”
Ted Cruz is shuffling it all under the rug like it is unimportant. No campaign staffer has been fired, no real admission of wrongdoing by anyone. It has all slid off the silk suit without a wrinkle.
I find it ironic that after Iowa the campaign started using the word "Trusted" to symbolize "Trust Ted."
Smart move. There is a visual they want people to grab onto.