A Davidson College graduate who gained notoriety for his fake news story during the Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton campaign found himself in another political storm this week.
Cameron Harris came to the nation’s attention in January when The New York Times broke the story about what he had done during the presidential race.
With Trump behind in the polls in early fall, Harris told The Times, he sat down at the kitchen table in his apartment and created a fake story that was eventually shared with 6 million people. His fake story said “tens of thousands” of fraudulent Clinton votes were found in an Ohio warehouse, The Times reported.
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After the story broke, Harris was fired from his job as a Maryland legislative aide and apologized for his actions.
His fake story also drew sharp reaction from Davidson College President Carol Quillen. “Fabricating news is radically inconsistent with the commitment to honest intellectual inquiry, leadership and service that the vast majority of our community live out every day,” she wrote the school’s faculty at the time.
Harris now serves as spokesman for a Republican candidate for the elected office of county executive in Frederick County, Md.
The candidate, Kirby Delauter, drew fire this week from a potential rival. In an emailed letter to supporters, fellow Republican Kathy Afzali said Delauter conducted a “Hillary Clinton-style” telephone-recording “push poll” that spread misleading information about her.
On Wednesday, The Frederick News-Post reported that one of the poll questions asked: “If you knew that Kathy Afzali voted with Democrats to protect groups that have known ties to radical Islamic terrorism, would that change your vote?”
“Corrupt false attacks,” Afzali wrote to her supporters.
Delauter and his campaign responded that it was fair to question Afzali about her voting record.
“The issues we polled are votes she’s made and words she’s spoken publicly,” Harris said in an email to the Observer. “There’s nothing false or misleading about that.”
He also noted how support among respondents shifted toward Delauter, and away from Afzali, between the beginning of the call and the end.