Some Texas voters received text messages appearing to come from Rep. Beto O'Rourke's texting team and asking for volunteers to help transport illegal immigrants to the polls in November, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
O'Rourke's campaign has denied responsibility for the text from "Patsy." Spokesman Chris Evans told the American-Statesman that the message sent out on Wednesday came from an "imposter."
“It was sent by an impostor,” Evans told the newspaper in a text message Wednesday evening. “But we’re continuing to look into what happened.”
The Democratic Senate candidate's team sent a follow-up text to voters Wednesday night that alerted them to the fake message.
O'Rourke, who's vying to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in November, has called for immigration reform laws that would ease regulations for immigrants.
The race between the two candidates has become increasingly tight, according to recent polls.
What did the imposter message say?
"Hi, it's Patsy here w/Beto for Texas. Our records indicate that you're a supporter. We are in search of volunteers to help transport undocumented immigrants to polling booths so that they will be able to vote. Would you be able to support this grassroots effort?" the message said.
The Beto O’Rourke campaign says an “imposter” accessed its volunteer text messaging system to send an inflammatory… https://t.co/4GG5WesakT— Texas Standard (@Texas Standard)1536242727.0
What did the follow-up message say?
“An imposter signed up to be a volunteer on our texting team and texted you today with a message that was not approved by the campaign. We’re very sorry about this and have taken the necessary steps to make sure that they do not continue sending text messages with our campaign," the message read, according to the American-Statesman.
How does the campaign get voters' cellphone numbers?
The campaign has used the Relay app to reach voters through text messages, according to the New York Times. The app was developed by people who worked on Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential bid.
O'Rourke's campaign gets phone numbers from a statewide records voters database. It hopes to reach all 3.5 million cellphones through text before election day.
His campaign has bombarded voters for months with multiple texts, including his opponent Cruz.
“I’ve gotten three of them myself. My dad has gotten five," Cruz said at recent campaign events, the Times reported. "By the third one, I was thinking, ‘Maybe I should vote for him.'”
It's not clear how many people received the phony text from "Patsy."
Also, the identity of the person who sent the messages has not been made known.