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HomeNewsPolitics“Cruz Cheated”: Evidence of Effort to Mislead Carson Caucus-Goers Mounting

“Cruz Cheated”: Evidence of Effort to Mislead Carson Caucus-Goers Mounting


Sen. Ted Cruz, right, speaks during a caucus night rally as his wife Heidi listens Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. An internal memo, left, circulating false information told operatives to spread the word at sites. (Photo: AP/Chris Carlson)

EARLIER: PPD has learned that caucus site supporters of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz were falsely telling caucus-goers Dr. Ben Carson had suspended his campaign. Based on the reports and evidence, it would appear that the spreading of this false information was intentional and specifically targeted the supporters of Dr. Carson because the Cruz campaign previously identified them as voters highly likely to back Cruz as their second choice.

UPDATE: Breitbart News has obtained voicemail audio that stands in complete contradiction to the defense put forward by Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as Jeff Tyler, the campaign’s communications director. Tyler specifically denied such calls went out making these claims during an appearance on “Hannity” Wednesday night.

[brid video=”27016″ player=”2077″ title=”Cruz voicemail 1 Carson Dropping Out Galveston Texas 707 p.m. CST”]

[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.

[brid video=”27017″ player=”2077″ title=”Cruz voicemail 2 Carson Dropping Out Cruz Volunteer Line 729 p.m. CST”]

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.

It’s important to note that the calls were placed after the Carson campaign had already clarified that Carson was not suspending his campaign. However, upon researching the results, Trump carried this particular precinct (DC-A-B). That said, as explained in the initial original story below, that’s not necessarily relevant as to whether this tactic swayed the results of the Iowa caucus (Read more below).

“The voicemails are in line with the reports that were made at that time,” Cruz campaign spokesperson Catherine Frazier told Breitbart News. “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.”

Republican primary voters will have to read the timeline below and decide whether they believe that or not. However, it is undeniable that the story from the Cruz team has evolved and the voicemail was not in line with reports at the time.

BACK TO ORIGINAL STORY: “There has never been a more tainted victory in the Iowa caucuses,” said Jason Osbourne, senior communications strategist for Ben Carson. “From the mailing denounced by the Iowa Secretary of State to his abject lies about Dr. Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz demonstrated he is a worst kind of Washington insider. No candidate who claimed to be an outsider would stoop to these tactics.”

The “mailing” cited by Mr. Osbourne, which claimed Iowans listed were guilty of a “voter violation” for lack of activity in past elections, made headlines the day before the Iowa caucus. But Osbourne produced an internal Cruz memo from Spence Rogers, a member of Cruz’s Iowa team, which instructed supporters to spread the false word to caucus-goers.


On Monday, Cruz’s team deployed some 12,000 volunteers, with precinct captains in roughly 90 percent of Iowa’s 1,681 precincts and county chairs and supportive pastors across the state. With such a significant ground game in place, it isn’t hard for analysts to conclude the effort could have had a significant impact on the outcome of the Iowa caucus results. If Cruz’s captains failed to sway just 4 votes each based on this information, Donald Trump would’ve won the Iowa caucus.

“This doesn’t look good for Sen. Cruz and certainly isn’t the news you want floating around the day after a win,” said Richard Baris, PPD’s senior political analyst. “I’m a data guy, and this smells really bad. It looks like a premeditated ‘Plan B’ effort.”

Because of Cruz’s data juggernaut, the campaign had already identified Carson supporters as a threat, despite their second choice preference. With Carson pulling in support from such a similiar pool of voters, particularly self-described evangelicals, a large enough showing from Carson could’ve denied Cruz a win and could’ve allowed Trump to carry the night. According to Baris, this would help to explain the disparity between the entrance polls and the results.

What’s important to remember is that neither Chris Moody at CNN or Dana Bash, whom the Cruz team is scapegoating, ever reported that Carson was quitting. On the contrary, Moody only initially said he was going to travel to Florida rather than New Hampshire. Yet, hours later the memo above went out with the added assertion that Carson was calling it quits and had plans to make a “big” announcement, which was never reported.

Further, Rep. Steve King, who serves as Cruz’s state chair, tweeted the falsehood after 8:30 p.m. local time, when he knew full well that it was incorrect. Moody had already sent out repeated clarifications and, again, never reported on any break or announcement.

Worth noting, Carson’s wife reported to have shown up to a caucus site to find supporters overjoyed to have her there to set the record straight with caucus-goers in the room. Following a speech, he carried that particular site. Unfortunately, PPD has spoken with numerous caucus-goers with identical stories, absent the clarification.

“Cruz over-performed no doubt in large part due to his organization,” Baris said. “But this helps me make sense of what otherwise appeared to be a strange and almost random pattern of results in certain counties. It certainly stains, at least in my mind, what previously appeared to be just a very impressive victory as a result of a well-engineered, organized grassroots campaign.”

PPD reached out to Jeff Tyler, the communications director for Ted Cruz. However, we did not receive a comment or response to the allegations. Tyler, among others on the Cruz team, were retweeting the unconfirmed reports ahead and during the caucuses.

[brid video=”26996″ player=”2077″ title=”Karl Rove Explains How Cruz ‘s Cheating Could’ve Cost Trump Iowa”]

Written by

Led by R. D. Baris, the People's Pundit, the PPD Elections Staff conducts polling and covers news about latest polls, election results and election data.

Latest comments

  • I was caucus captain for Cruz in a caucus over 200 people. The subject of Carson didn’t come up in our caucus on any level, and the campaign was not pushing us to do this.
    It appears Dr. Carson is now campaigning as the new Huckabee. It’s sad.

    • Hi Chris, thanks for the input. Cruz ultimately won because he had a organization regardless, but we spent Tuesday morning talking to dozens of people on the ground and in the campaign. I don’t know if you know this or not, but Cruz himself is no longer denying they did this. They did it. They’re just arguing it was a mistake. If you weren’t told, it’s because your caucus site wasn’t identified beforehand as a place where a large number of targeted second-choicers were caucusing.

      • No “longer” denying??? He NEVER DID deny!

        • So let’s say Cruz didn’t know anything about it until afterwards. Should he not show something to satisfy the detractors he has earned. Should he publically fire those in his staff who acted alone? Sorry is not good enough.

    • It would appear there was misfeasance by some on both sides, but malfeasance by none. And no evidence that Cruz himself was implicated in the maneuver.

      Dr. Carson on the other hand does bear some responsibility. One would think that before seeking the presidency as his first elective office, he might have taken some training in how to talk to the media. When you’re in the championship ring, you don’t just drop your guard.

    • If Dr. Carson said it happened…I know it did.

    • Hmm.. one district. Your opinion is based only on your personal knowledge and does not pertain to the affected district(s). That’s like saying that just because it isn’t raining on your side of the street, that it isn’t on the other side of the street (and yes, that is possible before you try to jump on that for some reason) when in fact, it is pouring..

  • Nowhere in any of these notes I’m reading does the team state that Dr. Carson is in fact dropping out. They are simply putting out information that Dr. Carson’s campaign had already told the media. At the precinct captain level, that could very well have been construed as Dr. Carson’s campaign suspension… but Dr. Carson could have sorted that with 2 minutes on a smartphone in this day and age.

    • Carson’s campaign is amateur, has been all along. And Carson is a political amateur. Applying the reasonable man standard, anybody hearing a candidate say he’s going to Florida to do laundry rather than going to NH or SC has every reason to believe that that candidate is throwing in the towel. Real leaders never leave it up the imagination what their intent and priority is. This whole episode reflects far more on Carson’s lack of qualification for the office he seeks.

      • Carson had been campaigning for months he knew he was losing. There was no reason for him to stick around. He had to be at the National prayer breakfast the next morning . He I did nt have to be in New Hamshire for a week. I don’t think it’s unusual for him to want to get a change of clothes and rest in his bed before his next event. Thank God his wife was still as she was able to stop the rumor there and win that presicnct.

      • he did Not know he was losing, and wouldn’t have if not for this !

      • Typical HarryReid values let’s blame the lie on Carson, the victim. That’s like blaming a rape victim. Carson should have known Cruz was crook. Cruz with all of his claims of Christianity should be held to a higher standard. Harry Reid , “so, we won didn’t we.”

  • Wow Trump could have possibly won. Im not saying he definitely would have but im sure it would have at least been a little closer.

    • Mike, consider this: Cruz’s caucus captains only needed to sway 4 people each based on this information to peel off his margin of victory. Now that we’ve had time to look further at the data, we can say with pretty high certainty that Cruz would’ve fallen short.

  • No way, Chris. Cruz camp had this loaded up from the gate. Based on his response, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cruz, himself, knew all about it. Dirty, real dirty.

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