4 A.M. CAMPAIGN CALL PROMPTS INDICTMENT

dwayne hornerA Facebook image of Dwayne Horner, a Texas man indicted for alleged dirty politics in Monmouth County.  (Click to enlarge)

HOT-TOPIC_02A predawn political robocall campaign intended to stir up voter ire against incumbent state Senator Joe Kyrillos during the 2013 Republican primary led to the indictment of a Texas man Monday.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni announced the indictment by grand jury of Dwayne Horner, 45, of Little Elm, Texas, who was the campaign manager for Leigh Ann Bellew, a Tea Party-backed challenger to Kyrillos.

According to Gramiccioni, at 4 a.m. on the morning of the June 4 primary vote:

a robocall (an automatic computer dialing system that can simultaneously send out as many calls as the caller decides) went out to registered Republican Party voters in the 13th Legislative District with the message: “Hi. We are calling on behalf of Joe Kyrillos [of Middletown], Declan O’Scanlon [of Little Silver] and Amy Handlin [of Lincroft] to remind you, you can still vote til 8 p.m., another four hours. Remember to get out and vote. Thank you.”

Gramiccioni said an investigation by his office determined that the caller “spoofed” the phone number of the Monmouth County Republican Headquarters to make it appear as though that was the source of the call.

The probe, “prompted by numerous angry phone calls to MCRHq demanding an explanation for the 4 a.m. call,”  also determined that the voice on the message was Horner’s, Gramiccioni said in a prepared statement. Horner “became Bellew’s campaign manager through his longtime association with Monmouth County resident Robert Linker, as co-owners of Digital Politics,” the statement said.

The indictment charged Horner with one count of fourth-degree impersonation. If convicted, Horner faces up to 18 months in state prison.

The conservative website TownHall.com identifies Horner as a columnist and Reublican political consultant who served the Greater Dallas Regional Field Director for Governor Rick Perry’s 2010 re-election campaign.