Digital dirty tricks: diversion sites aim to push Doggett supporters to Castro

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Doggett. Wait, Castro. Wait what? If you're browsing the web for campaign info on longtime Democratic Congressman Lloyd Doggett, now running for the newly created District 35 congressional seat against Joaquin Castro, just make sure you know how to spell the surname. Any number of mistakes might land you on Castro's doorstep. Someone has gobbled up a number of addresses unmistakably close to Doggett's legitimate campaign website, VoteDoggett.com. Misspellings like VoteDogget, VoteDogett, or VoteDoget all redirect to his challenger's official “Joaquin Castro for Congress” web page. You're also greeted by a nice quip at the top of the browser that reads: “If You Do Not Know Your Candidates [sic] Name – Learn About: Joaquin Castro 4 Congress.” Doggett spokesman Carlton Carl couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday. But two staffers in the Castro camp, newly minted communications director Cary Clack and campaign manager Christian Archer, seemed genuinely shocked by news of the diversion web pages. Said Archer, “This is just not something that we would do.” Castro staff, he said, would dig around to see if anyone affiliated with the campaign set up the websites, and if so, put a stop to it, adding, “God, I hope it wasn't any of us.” A quick Whois search turns up little, simply showing that someone anonymously registered all the diversion sites with hosting service GoDaddy.com shortly after Castro announced his run for Congress this summer, only listing a general administrative contact.

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