As voters were preparing to caucus in Iowa, Conrad Close, a self-identified Rubio supporter and the vice chairman of Georgia Students for Rubio, sent out a tweet.
“Rubio campaign pushing narrative hard that Carson is dropping out,” he wrote. “Obviously looking to pick up votes from Carson.”
That tweet was later deleted, but not before it was captured and shared online by Politistick, a website that published Close’s deleted tweet and started pursuing the narrative suggesting that there might be more to the tweet than Close admitted.
Since then, Close has denied that the campaign had any role in his tweet, especially after Cruz fans began highlighting it as proof that Rubio had engaged in similar behavior.
“I’m proud to support Marco, but I’ve never received any kind of pay. I don’t take orders from the campaign,” he said on Twitter. “I do not work for the Rubio campaign in any way. I’m just a blogger.”
There’s no denying that Close is a big fan of Rubio. His profile features the digital Rubio supporter profile art provided the campaign and, according to his Facebook profile, he is the vice chairman at Georgia Students For Rubio.
When contacted by Breitbart News, Close confirmed that he used to be involved with the Georgia Students for Rubio but he chose to resign from the organization today after his tweet went viral.
“I made one dumb tweet, and people won’t stop bugging me about it,” he said. “I didn’t want to bring any negative publicity to the campaign, and I felt that was the professional thing to do.”
Close said he sent out his tweet after he saw some his friends sharing a message on Twitter from Rand Paul campaign digital strategist Vincent Harris about the Carson caucus rumors.
Harris confirmed to Breitbart News that he was simply tweeting out observations from people reacting to the Carson news at a caucus location as it happened.
Although the screen cap of Close’s tweet has a 6:29 p.m. timestamp, it is the result of someone in a different timezone saving a copy of it.
Close told Breitbart News that he sent the tweet at 8:29 EST, since he was in Georgia at the time.
“I remember seeing this tweet and several from pro-Rubio people RT’ed into my timeline before,” he said.
Harris is a popular Republican digital strategist with over 7,000 followers, many of them digital political enthusiasts. His tweets were retweeted that night over 50 times by his followers, some of which were Rand Paul supporters and Rubio supporters.
Things got worse for Close, after Rush Limbaugh brought up the Politistick story on his radio show the next day, citing his tweet as a possible sign that perhaps the Rubio campaign had engaged in the tactics that Cruz was caught using.
“They pulled that down, but the screenshot was grabbed of it in time,” Limbaugh said, referring to the tweet. “And there’s more. So the plot thickens here, ladies and gentlemen. But it’s still politics.”
The Rubio campaign did not respond to a request for comment from Breitbart News.