Ted Cruz’s controversial public shaming mailer backfires

Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio leveled a damning charge against rival Ted Cruz during Thursday’s debate, saying his opponent is “willing to say or do anything in order to get votes.”

Less than 24 hours later, in the run up to Monday’s all important Iowa caucus, Cruz found himself under heavy scrutiny after some Iowans complained about a “voter-shaming mailer” sent out by his campaign.


On one side, the mailer had “VOTING VIOLATION” in bold red letters, along with the following text:

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.


Tom Hinkeldey, a resident of Alta, Iowa, posted an image on social media of a mailer his wife received, with the caption: “Hey @tedcruz your brilliant public shaming campaign has inspired me to caucus on Monday…For @marcorubio.”

The Cruz campaign confirmed to Sarah Rumpf at Independent Journal that they sent the controversial mailer, with spokesman Rick Tyler explaining that the targeting had been “very narrow, but the caucuses are important and we want people who haven’t voted before to vote.”

Hinkeldey would later delete the photo because it included his home address, but another Iowa resident posted an image of a similar mailer he received, as seen above.

The names the campaign included on the notice appear to be actual neighbors, according to Hinkeldey:

Rumpf notes that MoveOn.org sent out similar mailers during the 2012 election in support of President Barack Obama, as seen here:

That Cruz is mimicking such tactics is particularly ironic in the face of a brand new TV ad the campaign released where he calls Rubio “the Republican Obama,” an attack against his rival for taking on a leading role in immigration reform.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate issued a statement Saturday rebuking Cruz for campaign literature “that misrepresents the roll of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law,” The Hill reported.

“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 the statement. “There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting.”

“Any institution or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses,” he added.


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