FREEHOLD – A Monmouth County grand jury indicted a Texas man on Aug. 11 for his alleged connection to an early morning political robo-calls made during the June 2013 primary for the state’s 13th Legislative District.
Dwayne Horner, 45, of Little Elm, Texas, was charged in the one-count indictment with impersonation-theft of identity, a fourth degree crime.
During the 2013 primary campaign, Horner was the campaign manager for Leigh-Ann Bellew of Union Beach, a Tea Party-supported candidate who was challenging incumbent Republican state Sen. Joseph Kyrillos for the nomination.
The automated calls were made to registered Republican voters in the 13th District at approximately 4 a.m. on June 4, 2013, primary election day. The calls were purported to be from the campaign Kyrillos and Assembly members Amy Handlin and Declan O’Scanlon, all Republican incumbents seeking the party’s nomination for re-election.
The recorded voice on the call reminded voters to get out and vote for the candidates. The call, coming at such an early hour, caused many to complain to the Republican campaign offices.
GOP county chairman John O. Bennett and the candidates deny any involvement and Bennett asking for a criminal investigation.
The indictment charges that Horner “did commit the crime of impersonation-theft of identity, pretends to be a representative of some person or organization” with “the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or to injure or defraud another…”
In response to the indictment, O’Scanlon issued a statement saying: “I’m glad to see this matter was taken seriously and did not fall through the cracks. Those who would play these types of desperate games during campaigns need to know that there are consequences … It’s hard enough to get eligible candidates interested in running without the threat of these juvenile type pranks. This indictment will hopefully be a message to anyone who would attempt it in the future –grow up.”
The 13th District is make up of 16 Monmouth County municipalities, stretching along the Bayshore and west to Marlboro and includes Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach, Rumson, Little Silver and Oceanport.