A New Hampshire resident posted a fake advertisement with a political candidate’s personal phone number, leading to a jammed phone on election day — and now criminal charges, officials said.
The man posted an ad for a free trailer on Craigslist on April 13, 2021, the day of a countywide special election, according to court documents. The ad contained the personal cell phone number of Bill Boyd, a Republican candidate in the election.
Boyd was running for the New Hampshire House of Representatives following the death of a member from COVID-19 in December 2021, according to WMUR.
The morning of the election, Boyd received 37 calls and texts inquiring about the trailer ad in less than 45 minutes, and eventually shut off his phone, according to court documents.
It was later announced he won the race by 387 votes, according to WMUR.
Following an investigation by the state’s attorney general’s election law unit, it was determined that the man who posted the ad was a 30-year-old disabled veteran and registered Democrat, records show.
When investigators made contact with the man, he said, “it was a joke, I meant no harm,” according to court documents. When asked why it was posted the day of the special election, he said it was “bad timing,” adding that he wanted to buy dinner for Boyd to make amends.
The man said he was “not looking for any trouble,” adding, ”sometimes people make mistakes,” according to court documents.
An attorney for the man could not immediately be reached by McClatchy News. Boyd did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
After investigators spoke with the man accused of posting the ad, he sent a Facebook message to Boyd apologizing for the “prank,” records show, and later changed his affiliation to Republican.
A followup Facebook message to Boyd sent the next day read: “I’m not sure if you read messenger, so I’ll tell you in person when we cross paths.”
The man was indicted with a felony count of interference with election communications on Nov. 30, according to a press release from the state’s attorney general.