It has just been revealed that the Ted Cruz campaign called precinct chairs in Iowa and instructed them to them to tell voters that Ben Carson was suspending his campaign and they should vote for Ted Cruz instead of wasting their vote on Carson.
According to Nancy Bliesman, a precinct captain for Cruz in Iowa, she received two voicemails Monday night after the caucus had begun, one at 7:07 and another at 7:29.
The first call, was from a Texas phone number:
[inaudible]…from the Ted Cruz campaign, calling to get to a precinct captain, and 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. He is taking a leave of absence from his campaign. All right? Thank you. Bye.”
The second call appears to be from an Iowa based Cruz campaign volunteer hotline:
Hello, this is the Cruz campaign with breaking news: Dr. Ben Carson will be [garbled] suspending campaigning following tonight’s caucuses. Please inform any Carson caucus goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted instead. Thank you. Good night.”
Bliesman however, says that the voters in her precinct were not told anything about the rumors that Carson was suspending his campaign.
“Ben Carson did get his votes in our precinct ’cause I didn’t take the calls.”
Bliesman said that their precinct had a “huge turnout,” and noted that “we had probably at least 100 percent increase from four years ago.”
She also said that she wished that the Cruz campaign would have looked deeper into the rumor before they began sharing the information.
“Everyone knows the mainstream media says things–whether it’s true or not, check it out.”
It was previously discovered that Cruz’s deputy Iowa campaign director Spence Rogers sent out an email about four minutes before the caucus began at 6:56 p.m. which stated that Carson would be “taking time off from the campaign trail after Iowa and making a big announcement next week.” The email also instructed supporters to: “Please inform any caucus goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz.”
Cruz has apologized for the “mistake,” and campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier issued the following statement:
“The senator has already apologized for not more quickly making that clarification, and there is no evidence that our sharing of this news story impacted Carson’s campaign – he well outperformed expectations. The voicemails are in line with the reports that were made at that time. Our campaign shared an accurate report that Carson was suspending campaigning after the caucuses – he went home and he went to D.C. – and these voicemails do not suggest that he would completely drop out of the race.”
Listen to the voicemails for yourself here:
Featured image via video screen capture