Ted Cruz has come under fire just two days before the Iowa caucuses for sending mailers to voters here that accuse them of a “voting violation”, earning the Texas senator and his campaign a formal denunciation by top officials in the first-in-the-nation voting state.
The mailers, which came to light on Friday and were confirmed by Cruz’s campaign as their own, include a voting score and the phrase “official public record”. They call out by name not only the recipients, but also their neighbors, as part of a broader attempt to shame Iowans for not having participated in prior elections.
Paul Pate, Iowa’s Republican secretary of state, condemned Cruz’s campaign on Saturday for distributing the mailers. He said the strategy “misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law”.
“Accusing citizens of Iowa of a ‘voting violation’ based on Iowa caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act,” Pate said in a statement.
“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.”
Cruz struck a defiant tone in a swift response: “I apologize to nobody for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote,” he said at a press conference in Sioux City on Saturday evening. The senator went on to argue that the Iowa Republican Party had previously used such mailers and characterized them as “routine”.
The literature was “a standard mailer that folks at the Iowa Republican party and other get-out-the-vote groups have used to help motivate low-propensity voters,” said Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier. “We’re going to do everything we can to turn these folks out.”
Matt Schultz, Cruz’s Iowa state chairman and a former secretary of state here, added that the mailer was modelled after similar mailers in the 2014 midterm elections that were sent out by the Republican party of Iowa.
Those mailers, he said, “helped elect numerous Republican candidates during that cycle”.
Steve Deace, an influential conservative radio host and key surrogate for Cruz, also dismissed the backlash – after he initially declared that the mailers were fake, and corrected himself later.
“Watching the same people not outraged when Cruz was called a fake Christian now pretend to be outraged by a mailer is, well, horse puckey,” Deacewrote on Twitter.
Even so, Cruz’s tactics raised eyebrows across the political spectrum for their directness. One Iowan tweeted his outrage with a picture of the mailer, which included an F rating for how he had voted in the past. The man said he had not been planning to caucus, but upon receiving the mailer he was, in fact, persuaded to caucus – for Florida senator Marco Rubio, one of Cruz’s chief opponents.
Asked about the mailers on Saturday, Rubio told reporters he had heard about them from voters who were upset and “disturbed”.
“It’s kind of an unusual way to end your campaign in a state,” Rubio said.
“It doesn’t sound like he’s feeling too good. It sounds like he’s under pressure and maybe not reacting very well to it, which his problematic because presidents are under pressure every day.”
- Additional reporting by Ben Jacobs in Sioux City, Iowa
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2016
Trump says GOP is pulling Republican National Convention from North Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Tuesday night that he is seeking a new state to host this summer’s Republican National Convention after host North Carolina refused to guarantee the event could be held in Charlotte without restrictions because of ongoing concerns over the coronavirus.Trump announced the news via tweet, complaining the state's governor, Democrat Roy Cooper, and other officials "refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena" and were not "allowing us to occupy the arena as originally anticipated and promised.""Because of @NC_Governor, we are... (more…)
Controversial Contractors for Trump’s highly-criticized $3 billion food aid program hire lobbyist to tout their work
Companies receiving taxpayer dollars as part of President Donald Trump’s signature food aid program hired a longtime lobbyist to push back on criticism that the government is relying on unqualified contractors, such as an event planner.
“We’re working to take the stories of the impact this is having on farmers, processors, distributors and end users and making sure some positive aspects of the program, from both the economic and social standpoints, are out there too,” said the lobbyist and industry consultant, Dale Apley, who reached out to ProPublica on behalf of the contractors. “It’s not all just certain stories about certain companies that maybe shouldn’t have been awarded contracts.”
Ivanka Trump ‘urged’ Trump’s Bible photo-op — which could become a ‘defining moment’ of his presidency: NYT
First daughter and senior White House advisor Ivanka Trump "urged" her father to take part in a controversial photo-op with a Bible according to a new report from The New York Times.
"After a weekend of protests that led all the way to his own front yard and forced him to briefly retreat to a bunker beneath the White House, President Trump arrived in the Oval Office on Monday agitated over the television images, annoyed that anyone would think he was hiding and eager for action," the newspaper reported.