election watch 2018
Democratic politician in North Carolina wants to know why a Russian man bought her domain
Linda Coleman is a Democrat running for Congress in North Carolina's 2nd District, but when her team googled her name recently, her campaign website didn't come up — instead, they were directed to the domain she used two years ago when she was in the state's race for lieutenant governor.
Coleman told The News & Observer she didn't renew that domain because she's running for an entirely different office, and she discovered that it was purchased in January by a man named Ivan Gusev, who said he lived in Moscow. The phone number linked to the account seems to have the wrong area code listed, The News & Observer said, and emails to Gusev were not returned.
The website has been rebuilt to mimic how it looked when she was running for lieutenant governor, Coleman said. "I don't know for what purpose this website was created," she told The News & Observer. "We all need to be wary and protect ourselves from similar attempts to deceive our voters and the general public." With Russian election meddling on everyone's mind, Coleman told the state elections board about the incident, and in turn, the board has contacted the Department of Homeland Security. "Underhanded and deceptive strategies like this only thrive when people choose not to speak out about what they see before them," Coleman said.