The last two days saw complaints from first responders, candidate Jason Hodge and supporters, over automated calls coming from the Hannah-Beth Jackson campaign. Democrats Hodge and Jackson are in a contentious political battle for the State Senate 19th District seat. Charges that the campaign used the National Weather Service phone number are, according to Jackson Campaign Manager Rudy Ramirez, unwarranted and overstated.
“There was a call made last Thursday with a caller ID showing the call being made from the National Weather Service,” explains Ramirez. “This was not intentional and was never asked for by the campaign. After we made an inquiry in regards to this, our vendor contacted the call center and we found out that this was a technical issue fixed immediately within the first hour of the call.”
A few hundred households were contacted before the error was corrected. The call then went out to 7000 phones with out the incorrect caller ID.
So-called “robocalls” are commonly used by campaigns to reach voter households, for the most part legitimately. Controversies have arisen in recent years when these calls appear to be from non-campaign sources.
“The sub vendor has apologized, and indicated that they immediately fixed the problem after learning about it,” says candidate Jackson. “Nonetheless, my campaign has terminated them because of this problem. It was a technical error on their part, not an intentional attempt to mislead anybody.”
The automated caller firm, Signia Marketing of Denver, took responsibility in a letter. “We would like to sincerely apologize for the calling that took place last Thursday with the National Weather Service number being displayed on the caller ID,” wrote firm President Jeffery Fell. “This error was made on our end, and was not a result of the client’s direction or instruction.”
For Campaign Manager Ramirez, this type of tactic would be a “strategic” mistake for any campaign. “This would not have been a smart move on our part,” he said, “the last thing we want to do is deceive voters.”