A Campaign Divided

Weird email exchange purporting to be from Shami staffers hits in-trays

Shami: The difference between
Shami: The difference between "reply" and "send to everyone in my contact book" is surprisingly small, but significant (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

Leaked emails are the bane of election campaigns: Especially when they reveal a campaign that has no control over its message or its supporters. So a weird exchange that purports to be from the Farouk Shami campaign are making an already strange campaign look even stranger.

If the exchange is a legitimate record of what happened, it all seems to be in response to an article by David Diaz at right wing online presence Texas Insider, entitled "Bill White Was Early Supporter of a Plan Based on Racial Profiling, Says Farouk Shami."

Just after lunch, the Chronicle and what seems to be a large number of other recipients received what, on first glance, seems to be an internal discussion of the article within the Shami campaign. His policy team sent an email to the press team, forwarding Diaz's piece and asking,

anyone approve this?
The unsigned response from the press team was less pithy:
Who in the hell is David Diaz? He is not authorized by the campaign to send out any press releases and we keep seeing them out there, apparently "authorized" by Jessica Gutierrez? Isn't she Farouk's public relations rep for his company? Why are these amateurs with aol.com email addresses sending out these awful statements? These are the same people that give him quotes like great one about Mexicans and sunshine. No one with the campaign has authorized these statements and whoever they are, they are sabotaging every bit of legitimacy Farouk has as a candidate.

We have a communications director, a press secretary, and a policy/strategy team for the campaign. The entire paid staff has worked very hard on strategy for this candidate and have been chopped off at the knees by these incompetents! The staff could probably work with his "unique" statements, but these people that think they are helping him are feeding him their stupidity. Seriously, can we hunt these people down and muzzle them? This is highly unprofessional and must be resolved immediately.

We asked the Shami campaign for a comment on this exchange:
I cannot confirm that this email address is a real email that we use at the campaign. The email is not signed so I have no comment on its content. The press team did not send a press release regarding Bill White and racial profiling.
This exchange highlights an article that the rest of the press corps seemed to ignore as another attempt by Team Shami to define White as a racist over his position over federal immigration rule 287-G, which many perceive as turning cops into immigration officers. As mayor of Houston, White actually originally asked Homeland Security to expedite an application for a specific program. He has since repeatedly opposed the powers it gives law enforcement: Plus, trying to claim that this places White at odds with his long-time ally Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, seems particularly bone-headed.

Here's the first weirdness: The email address was an @Faroukforgovernor.com account, but the account now seems to have disappeared (whether it was deleted or never existed as a legitimate account is unclear.) So either this is a very elaborate hoax to make the Shami campaign look disorganized OR an accidental leak that makes the Shami campaign look disorganized OR an attempt by Team Shami to distance themselves from some off-message supporters.

Second weirdness: While the email purports to distance the campaign from Jessica Gutierrez, as recently as Jan. 22 Shami's campaign communication's director Kelly Love Johnson was giving Gutierrez's name as the point person for media access at certain campaign events.

More as we get it.

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