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SWFL voter unhappy Byron Donalds campaign used misleading caller ID

You look at your phone and see a call from Capital One. You might answer it. But it might not be the bank on the other side.

Bryon Donalds is a Republican candidate for Congressional District 19. His campaign for Congress says it hosted a telephone town hall with voters and used numbers that used to belong to the bank.

We spoke with one person who got the call and says he isn’t buying the campaign’s response.

“I’m Byron Donalds, I’m running for Congress, and I’m asking for your vote.” That’s a message voter in District 19 could receive at this time.

But that simple phone call has changed one man’s vote for the politician.

“Really disturbed me,” Dr. Julian Cauceglia told WINK News.

Cauceglia in Fort Myers heard Donalds’ message on the other end of the line while at dinner with his wife recently.

“We got the first phone call,” Cauceglia said. “It was an advertisement for Byron Donalds, and, literally seconds later, the phone rang again, and, this time, the caller ID said Capital One.”

Instead of the bank, it was another advertisement, another recorded message from the Byron Donalds campaign.

“Sending a true conservative to congress to support President Trump, stopping the most radical effort to defund the police, restoring our economy and cleaning our water,” the message said.

These are Initiatives Dr. Cauceglia supports, but he did not appreciate how the message reached him.

“Spoof his caller ID, trick people into answering his advertisement calls,” Cauceglia said. “If he was honest, he would put his name in there, and I could decide whether or not I want to listen to his message in that way. But to trick people is dishonest.”

Donalds declined our request for an interview but did text us a statement. He says his campaign hosted a “tele-townhall” with voters to discuss the important issues in this campaign, but a technical glitch caused the caller ID to misidentify the caller for some people.

The service Donalds used for the calls says only certain carriers may have experienced the problem. Either way, the campaign says it will fix the issue in the future.

The service Donalds’ campaign used to make the calls says there’s no way of knowing who owned a particular phone number in the past before they purchase it. We reached out to Capital One to see if it once owned the number, but we haven’t heard back yet.

“I think he got caught, and now he’s going to backpaddle and find a way to justify it,” Cauceglia said. “You would think that he would do an interview if he had a reasonable explanation.”

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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