The campaign for Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz was slammed on Saturday because of a mailer that was sent out to potential Iowa voters that seemed designed to look like an official notice warning recipients about “low voter turnout in your area.”
The Cruz campaign’s mailer also contained the recipient’s voting history, a grade for their history and that of several of their neighbors.
“Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record,” the mailer read. “Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUACUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SOCRE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.”
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate took exception to the flier, saying it is “not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa caucuses.” He added that Cruz’s campaign “misrepresents Iowa election law.” There’s “no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting,” he said.
Pate’s comments didn’t seem to deter Cruz’s attitude about the mailers as he brushed off the fuss, saying “I will apologize to nobody for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote.”
Matt Schultz, the campaign’s Iowa state chairman, reiterated to The New York Times that the use of mailers isn’t uncommon to try and increase voter turnout.
“Our mailer was modeled after the very successful 2014 mailers that the Republican Party of Iowa distributed to motivate Republican voters to vote, and which helped elected numerous Republican candidates during that cycle,” Schultz added.
Similar fliers were also mailed out during the 2012 presidential race to encourage potential voters to vote for Barack Obama, according to the Independent-Journal Review. Those mailers were also met with similar scrutiny.
“These kind of mailers are fraught with risk,” Republican strategist Rick Wilson told the paper. “They do work, but the social pressure stuff has got to be subtle. This, on the other hand, is like a sledgehammer.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.