Speed Reads

Ted talks

Sen. Ted Cruz is soliciting campaign cash with dodgy 'Summons Enclosed' letters

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) may not actively encourage lawn signs in his campaign to fend off a competitive challenge from Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), but he's found other ways to get the attention of Texas voters in their homes. Like this official-looking letter purporting to be a "summons" from Travis County voting officials, shared by Austin resident Sean Owen.

The Cruz campaign confirmed to Newsweek that it has sent out hundreds of thousands of those mailers, saying the campaign has received only a few complaints from people confused by the letter's provenance. Owen told Newsweek that while he's "used to ignoring junk mail with URGENT or FINAL NOTICE written on it," Cruz's mailer "fooled even me for a moment, as it plainly wants us to think it's from our county government when it isn't. ... It made me mad because my grandmother suffered from some dementia, and could easily have followed the urgent request inside to send money."

The mailer may be dodgy but it doesn't appear to be illegal. "No doubt, the fundraising letter, itself, is effective," the San Antonio Express-News said in an editorial in late May, when Cruz sent out similar mailers. "But certainly his campaign can do that without making it look like a legal threat, right?" Cruz used some questionable mailers in the 2016 Iowa caucuses, too, PolitiFact reminds us. When called out on those letters, Cruz said he "will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote."