Cruz Camp Left Iowa Voters Voice Mails Repeating Carson ‘Suspending’ Rumors

Two voice mails apparently left by Ted Cruz campaign reps told Iowa precinct chairs to use reports that Ben Carson was “suspending campaigning” to encourage caucusgoers to chose Cruz over Carson, Breitbart reported.

Breitbart posted the audio of two of the voice mails, both left on the phone of Nancy Bliesman, a precinct captain for Cruz in Crawford County, Iowa. They were left at 7:07 p.m. and 7:29 p.m CST (caucusing began at 7), notably after the Carson campaign clarified a CNN report that he was taking a brief respite from the campaign trail after Iowa. A Carson spokesperson tweeted a little before 7 pm CST that the neurosurgeon was making a quick jaunt to his home in Florida to refresh his wardrobe before returning to the campaign trail.

In the first, the caller identified herself as being from the Cruz campaign looking to get in touch with a precinct captain.

“It has just been announced that Ben Carson is taking a leave of absence from the campaign trail,” she said. “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.”

In the second, the caller said he was with the Cruz campaign and that he had “breaking news.”

“Dr. Ben Carson will be … suspending campaigning following tonight’s caucuses. Please inform any Carson caucusgoers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted instead,” he said.

Cruz — who scored a solid victory in Iowa — was already in trouble for a mobile app message that went out on the night of the Iowa caucus telling recipients that Ben Carson “will stop campaigning after Iowa.”

Carson first vaguely referenced the tactic as “dirty tricks” Monday evening, then condemned the mobile message in particular Tuesday morning. Cruz apologized to Carson later that day.

In a response to Breitbart, Cruz campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier did not deny the authenticity of the voicemails and said they “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,” she said.

She added that “it should surprise no one that Carson’s initial announcement he was taking time off the trail would be a news story. It is highly unusual for candidates to take time off the trail between the first voting states.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: