A former paid canvasser and poll worker for a firm hired by establishment candidates has raised questions about unethical campaign practices in a bold and lengthy confession posted to social media.
In a heartfelt apology, Christopher Gilmore stated that he and other paid canvassers were instructed to intentionally deceive voters with, “scare tactics mostly directed toward the elderly.”
During the 2016 general election, Gilmore worked as a paid campaign worker for Advanced Micro Targeting, a consulting firm based in Las Vegas Nevada. AMT had been hired to provide manpower for an astro-turf organization, “The Woodlands Concerned Taxpayers”, which was created by developers and power brokers in Montgomery County.
Seeking to provide cover for embattled establishment candidates facing grassroots opposition in the election for The Woodlands Township Board, TWCT mounted a $349,000 smear campaign against the conservative grassroots, propagating misleading claims in an attempt to distract from the former board’s reckless spending. The scheme backfired, however, when voters rejected TWCT’s slate of candidates and handed the grassroots slate a landslide victory.
AMT canvassers have been used by a number of establishment candidates in both state and federal elections. In 2016, AMT was notably involved in the campaigns of several state candidates supporting House Speaker Joe Straus including State Rep. Byron Cook (R–Corsicana).
Gilmore recounts that the AMT canvassers, most of whom were flown in from out of state, were instructed to tell voters they were actually from The Woodlands. Additionally, if asked if they were being paid, the paid canvassers were to tell voters that they were volunteers.
“Although most of us didn’t know it at the time, but we were deceiving and intentionally misleading voters with scare tactics mostly directed toward the elderly,” said Gilmore.
The poll workers passed out false information, he said, and were told to intentionally provoke altercations with the Tea Party volunteers in the parking lots.
“Most of us at the end knew we were misleading voters but did it out of desperation for income,” he said, noting that despite selling voters on several moderate and liberal candidates he was glad to see them lose to conservative opponents.
“When the election results came in I was ecstatic knowing that good trumped evil in The Woodlands,” said Gilmore.
Gilmore’s experience is a window into how an increasingly desperate establishment in Montgomery County operates when faced with the loss of their power. While grassroots activists have now set their sights on defeating the indicted members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court in the next primary, Gilmore has plans of his own:
“I’ve been wanting to get it off my chest for a while. I feel like the only way that I can truly redeem myself, is that when the issue rears its ugly head again, is to come down and do some real VOLUNTEER work with the right side.”