Following Ted Cruz ‘s Monday victory in Iowa, Ben Carson’s campaign claimed the Texas senator leaked information that the former neurosurgeon was suspending his campaign just before the votes were cast.
According to Time, several members of Carson’s staff have brought forward evidence “alleging misconduct by the Cruz campaign.”
Carson’s Iowa director Ryan Rhodes reportedly received text messages from Mike Huckabee supporters claiming “the Cruz speakers at our caucus announced Carson was suspending his campaign for a while after caucus. They did this before the vote. Same thing happened at another caucus. Sounds like slimy Cruzing to me.”
Additionally, a precinct chair in Muscatine sent Carson’s team an email claiming that a Cruz supporter told the precinct “Ben Carson was taking a break after Iowa, and then stated, ‘so you might want to rethink wasting your vote on him.’”
“That is really quite a dirty trick,” Carson told reporters late Monday night. “That’s the very kind of thing that irritated me enough to get into this quagmire.”
Furthermore, campaign manager Ed Brookover called Cruz’s alleged actions “the lowest of low in American politics,” while Carson’s Iowa co-chair state representative Rob Taylor noted that, “this is horseshit.”
The Cruz campaign has denied any wrongdoing.
Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign is rejecting Ben Carson’s assertion that it torpedoed his chances in Iowa’s Republican caucuses Monday night.
“On the Ben Carson allegation, it’s just false,” said Rick Tyler, the Cruz campaign’s communications director, on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “We simply as a campaign repeated what Ben Carson had said in his own words,” he continued. “That’s not a dirty trick.”
“He said after Iowa he was going to go back to Florida for a couple of days and then he was going to go to D.C. for the prayer breakfast,” Tyler added. “And what that told us was he was not going to New Hampshire.
“That was really surprising by a campaign who was once leading in Iowa saying he’s not going to come to New Hampshire. That’s a news item.”
Carson criticized his Republican presidential rivals, without naming names, for “dirty tricks” in Iowa.
The retired neurosurgeon lashed out following tweets from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who also serves as co-chairman of Cruz’s national campaign. King said departing Iowa is “the equivalent” of suspending an Oval Office bid after Carson returned home to Florida that evening.
Tyler also argued that GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump made several decisions that blunted his own Iowa momentum.
“It hurt him,” he said of Trump’s decision to skip the last Republican presidential debate before the Iowa contest. “I don’t think it hurt him badly, but it definitely hurt him.”
Tyler then charged that Sarah Palin’s endorsement of the outspoken billionaire last month did not boost his standing with voters.
“[It gave him] no real bump,” he said of the backing from the former Republican vice presidential nominee.
Cruz celebrated his win in Iowa as a “victory for the grass roots” late Monday after conquering the first-in-the-nation caucuses there.
That American democracy would allow even one vote to be decided by a coin toss seems bizarre – but somehow the outcome of six separate Iowa Caucus precinct elections were decided by the flip of a coin Monday. And Hillary Clinton won them all.
The Democrats’ Iowa Caucus appears to be a “virtual tie” between Bernie Sanders and Clinton – or a hairline win for Clinton, depending on whom you ask. But before eking out the narrowest of victories against Sanders, Clinton won a truly bizarre-sounding six coin tosses used to decide which candidate would get the votes of several Iowa precincts that were too tied up to call.
Precincts in Des Moines, Newton, West Branch, Davenport and Ames were decided by coin tosses, according to Reuters, and became crucial parts of Clinton’s Monday night win. Democratic Party counts show Clinton ultimately winning the Iowa Caucus by just four delegates.
If you’re still scratching your head over how this could happen, the Iowa Democratic Party sort of explains: On the night of the caucus, Iowans vote for their favorite candidate. Each precinct receives a set number of delegates, and the number of precinct delegates each candidate gets is proportional to the votes he or she got from the precinct’s population. Votes from those delegates ultimately determine the night’s big winner. When a precinct’s delegates vote and it results in a tie, the precinct leaders can flip a coin to figure out which candidate should win their majority.
You can watch some Democracy in action below:
Apparently Iowa is just one of 35 states to use “chance procedures” – a.k.a. throwing a coin in the air in exasperation and walking away in shame – to determine tied elections, according to the Washington Post.
The Iowa Democratic Party informed the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernard Sanders late Monday night that it has no results for 90 precincts across the state, which could account for as much as 5 percent of the total vote. And the party has asked the campaigns for help in getting a tally for those missing results.
“We are, right now, calling all our precinct captains on precincts where we have knowledge of what’s missing, to report what we think happened there,” a visibly irate Robert Becker, Sanders’ state director told Roll Call after Sanders’ speech at the Holiday Inn near the Des Moines airport.
“They’ve asked the other campaigns to do the same thing. At the end of the day, there’s probably going to be squabbles on it,” he added.
An Iowa Democratic Party official disputed Becker’s characterization.
“We are currently getting results from our small number of outstanding precincts, and results continue to be reported on our public website,” an Iowa Democratic Party official told Roll Call. “The reports of precincts without chairs are inaccurate. These outstanding precincts have chairs who we are in the process of contacting to get their results. It is inaccurate to report that these precincts did not have chairs.”
“We have reached out to the campaigns for help in contacting the chairs for our outstanding precincts. We are not taking results from the campaigns. We are taking them from the chairs who are in these precincts,” the official added.
Clinton and Sanders were locked in a virtual tie for most of the evening, with the state party announcing early Tuesday morning that Clinton achieved a slight edge in delegate counts.
“The party has a responsibility to staff 1,681 individual precincts. And what we’re seeing right now is that they had no-shows. People not showing up with the materials, not showing up with the app to report it. And when they’re telling us an hour ago that they have basically lost 90 precincts, it’s an outrage,” Becker said. “It’s insulting to the people who worked their asses off across this state that they can’t come up with people to cover these things.”
Attempts to reach the Clinton campaign early Tuesday were unsuccessful.
“I’m assuming they’re in the same boat. And they should be just as outraged as we are,” Becker fumed.
It has now been confirmed – The photograph of Ted Cruz campaign shaming letters is legit (see below). The letters are officially from the Ted Cruz campaign.
Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler confirmed to IJ Review that the mailer was theirs in a phone call Friday evening, saying that the targeting had been “very narrow, but the caucuses are important and we want people who haven’t voted before to vote.” (link)
The personalized letters target individual Iowa voters and identifies them as having failed to vote in prior elections. They are admonished and then encouraged to vote this year. In addition the letters identify the neighbors of the voter, and provides their voting history.
The text reads:
“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”.
In an effort to shame the recipient, the notice also informs the targeted voter their neighbors have also been notified of the recipients poor voting record.
How the Cruz Team would think a public shaming campaign is a good idea is just staggeringly unbelievable.
The campaign scheme was exposed via Twitter where “Tom Hinkeldy, a resident of Alta, Iowa, tweeted a photo (which was later deleted because it included his personal address) on Friday evening of a mailer Sen. Ted Cruz’s campaign sent addressed to his wife, Steffany” – link –
Word spread rapidly.
10:30 PM – 29 Jan 2016
The first name on the mailer list matches the name on the envelope at the top of the page. The envelope also has a returned address as “Paid for by Cruz for President”, the official campaign name of Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign (not a super-pac):
Another Iowan, Braddock Massey, tweeted a photo of the mailer he received:
This has the very real potential to be a massive fail and seriously backfire against the Ted Cruz campaign. He might have just given Marco Rubio a considerable gift with the Iowa election only two days away.
From the candidate who prefers to keep his own records, well,… sealed.
UPDATE 5:00am: It looks like Howie might have found the trail, via a professor in Northern Iowa named Christopher Larimer. Describing a previous stunt like this in Alaska. As outlined in a 2014 PBS article:
[…] “Why would they think that shaming would make people comply?”
Because, well, it does. That’s according to Chris Larimer, associate professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa. And he’s done the research to prove it.
“We found that when you make people aware of the norm of voting and that somebody else is going to observe whether or not you vote, people are more likely then to vote,” he said.
The letter from the so-called Alaska State Voter Project is nearly identical, word for word, to one that Larimer and other researchers tested in Michigan, right down to the typography and punctuation. In that 2006 research, Larimer and colleagues sent voters one of four different letters.
The softest message just urged people to do their civic duty and vote. The most aggressive letter matched the Alaska mailer. It included the addressee’s voting history as well as those of their neighbors, and contained something of a threat by promising a follow-up letter to show the results of the upcoming election.
Larimer says they got complaints, but the technique worked quite well. (read more)
That emboldened segment describes the current Cruz Campaign mailer 100%. Also, Chris Larimer is noted in this recent Texas Tribune article about the controversial debate:
[…] For Cruz, the No. 2 candidate in many polls, Trump’s snub could make him the center of action at the Iowa Events Center, a role that comes with both risks and rewards.
“If Trump’s not there, it affects the strategy other candidates take toward Cruz,” said Christopher Larimer, a political science professor at the University of Northern Iowa. “Do they treat Cruz like the frontrunner, or do they talk about Trump?”
At the same time, Larimer added, the debate could be a “lost opportunity” for Cruz to challenge Trump on his conservative credentials in what’s likely their last meeting before the caucuses. (read more)
Looks like another one of those ever brilliant political consultant types sold the Cruz campaign on a version of their already extensive “psychographic analytics“. Wouldn’t be surprised if billionaire Phd Robert Mercer, via Cambridge Analytica targeting – isn’t involved in the engineering of this too.
UPDATE: Chris Larimer distances himself from this fiasco via the Washington Post:
The blogosphere rumor is completely false. I do NOT work for the Cruz (or any) campaign and have absolutely nothing to do with mailings.
2:13 PM – 30 Jan 2016
[…] “As a researcher who has done randomized field experiments with get out the vote mailings,” Larimer wrote in an email, “what I can say is that mailings that call attention to an individual’s vote history as well as that of their neighbors’ have been shown to be effective in terms of significantly increasing voter turnout. We draw on norm compliance theory which suggests that publicizing behavior regarding a social norm increases the likelihood of norm compliance.”
That was if the ad was crafted in a smart way. “The Cruz mailing is more negative than anything we have done and has the potential to elicit a negative response or what psychologists call ‘reactance’ or ‘boomerang effect,’” warned Larimer. “The mailing also states that a ‘follow up notice’ will be sent following the caucuses on Monday. This is not possible as caucus turnout is private and maintained by the parties.” (link)
Hillary Clinton struggled through three minutes of a foreign policy speech Monday in Iowa as a lengthy coughing fit took hold of her.
An audience of about 150 at the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines had gathered to hear the Democratic presidential candidate’s views on Israel.
But ten minutes into her address, phlegm interrupted – leading to a lengthy hacking cough that left the former secretary of state hoarse and raspy.
Her next campaign event in Knoxville, Iowa was a placid affair as a soft-voiced Clinton seemed unwilling to test the boundaries of her limited vocal power.
‘We’ve got to get back to making people’s voices and votes count,’ she warbled during that speech to a crowd of 250, sounding older than her 68 years.
A few more coughs punctuated Clinton’s Knoxville speech as she discussed the need for mental health reform.
Clinton has one more afternoon event on her schedule, and then a televised town hall event at night.
Her coughing spell sent her hunting through her podium for water, and in her pockets for a cough drop.
The first hint of trouble turned up when Clinton was addressing the need to ‘distrust and verify’ Iran’s actions in response to last year’s nuclear deal with the Obama administration and ‘counter Iran across the region.’
‘And how we handle enforcement in these early months will set the tone for years to come, so we have to get it right,’ she said, clearing her throat and looking distressed.
‘There must be consequences – let me see if I get some water here – (COUGH) You do talk a lot in this campaign!’ she said, sipping water before descending into a full-blown cough attack.
‘(COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH) Um, excuse me, just one second here. (COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH)’
‘A lozenge! (COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH) I have one. (COUGH)’
Three more coughs rang out as she unwrapped the cough drop – and finally asked Jewish Federation president David Adelman to take over from offstage.
‘(COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH) Here David, You talk,’ she said.
‘(COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH)’
‘Well, we’re starting the all-in-one campaign,’ her audience heard from Adelman as she let out a ‘(COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH) (COUGH)’ and popped the lozenge in her mouth.
‘Pledge cards will be by the door,’ he continued as Clinton regained her composure but became progressively more and more hoarse.
‘There must be consequences to, (CLEARS THROAT) excuse me, snap sanctions back into place. (CLEARS THROAT) And we have to make sure that Iran knows that if they try (COUGH) to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, the United States will stop them. (COUGH) We will act decisively.’
‘Now (COUGH) (COUGH) Iran has not had some change of personality,’ Clinton continued. ‘They will test our resolve with actions. Like their ballistic missile test. And I supported and am glad we are opposing (COUGH) (COUGH) new sanctions in response, to hold the Iranian government and its Revolutionary Guard Corps accountable for their support of terrorism (CLEARS THROAT), their missile program, human rights violations (COUGH) (COUGH), detention of Americans, and other illicit behavior like cyber crime.’
‘We also need to push for a political solution in Syria, as hard as that may be, because (COUGH) (COUGH) that is Iran’s real objective: to control Syria, to have a swath of territory up to Israel’s doorstep (CLEARS THROAT) and to connect with Hizbollah.’
‘The second thing is,’ she added, sounding her hoarsest and most aged, ‘we have to go after the tide of extremism (COUGH). This is a threat also on Israel’s doorstep. An ISIS affiliate in the Sinai is becoming more aggressive and sophisticated (COUGH), likely responsible for the destruction of the Russian airliner. And Israeli media reported that an ISIS commander for the Sinai recently visited Gaza, raising the stakes even higher.’
As she spoke, Clinton’s campaign was distributing a fundraising email focused on the Feb. 1 statewide caucuses in Iowa.
‘One week from today, Iowans will head to schools and firehouses (and in at least one precinct, their neighbors’ living room) to make their voices heard,’ the email said, before asking for contributions.
‘We don’t yet know what they’ll say – but we saw in 2008 just how profound an impact those voices can have.’