Twitter on Tuesday forced a Democratic House candidate to delete a tweet that urged supporters of President Donald Trump to vote the day after this November's election, a company spokesperson confirmed to POLITICO.
The company said an Aug. 18 tweet by the campaign for Elizabeth Hernandez, who is challenging GOP Rep. Kevin Brady for his seat in Texas’ 8th Congressional District, violated its rules against voter suppression.
Hernandez's campaign told POLITICO that a staffer had posted the tweet in jest.
The impact: Twitter's action against a Democrat follows a number of efforts by the company to crack down on deceptive messages from Republicans, including Trump and his campaign.
What happened: In response to a Twitter user who wished Hernandez luck in her race and said they have “relatives in Texas who are tRump supporters” [sic], the official @LizForTX8 account wrote: “Thank you! And remind all of your Trump supporting relatives to vote on Wednesday, November 4! (Since they’re Trump supporters, they might fall for it. Just saying....)”
The tweet included a laughing emoji. The account has more than 26,000 followers.
Twitter’s rules on election misinformation prohibit “posting or sharing content that may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process.”
The company on Tuesday said it required the Hernandez campaign to remove the tweet to regain access to the account. The tweet had been up for two weeks until someone flagged it to the company on Tuesday.
In response, a Hernandez spokesperson told POLITICO on Tuesday that the campaign "made the decision to take the tweet down of our own accord" after Twitter reached out about the violation.
"In a jovial exchange with supporters on Twitter, one of our campaign staff was a little too loose with their words. The emoji at the end of the tweet indicates that the tweet was made in jest, not intended to actually mislead anyone," spokesperson Christopher Phipps said in an email. "But when Twitter brought the tweet to our attention, we took action to take it down, out of an abundance of caution."
According to Twitter's protocols, the account would have remained locked indefinitely if the post had not been deleted.
Reality check on the race: Hernandez faces steep odds to unseat Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, who has held the seat in the solid-red district since 1997.