Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News
The Dallas County Republican Party is telling voters that a Democratic state House candidate is hiring felons for his campaign. The candidate, Robert Miklos, who is running against incumbent Rep. Kenneth Sheets, says the recorded message is a "despicable tactic."
The Dallas County Republican Party is accusing a Democratic candidate for state House District 107 of hiring felons to work for his campaign.
Dallas County GOP Chair Wade Emmert sent a recorded message to voters Tuesday that accuses Robert Miklos of hiring workers with criminal backgrounds to go door-to-door for his campaign.
Miklos’ Republican opponent is incumbent Rep. Kenneth Sheets.
"This is a scummy, despicable tactic by a Sheets campaign and Sheets campaign allies, who know they have a failing campaign," Miklos told NBC 5. "Most of our canvassers have been recruited from community colleges -- teenagers, 20 year olds -- and we've done a tremendous grassroots effort."
The county GOP provided NBC 5 with the text of the recorded message:
"This is an important voter safety alert. Please be aware that the campaign of Robert Miklos is employing people with serious criminal backgrounds to canvass your neighborhoods. Mr. Miklos pays numerous people with criminal backgrounds in car theft, aggravated assault, theft, criminal trespass and prostitution to possibly knock on your door. Please be careful if you see anyone in your neighborhood wearing a Robert Miklos T-shirt, as that person may have a dangerous criminal background. This is Wade Emmert, chairman of the Republican Party in Dallas County. I want to make sure voters and our families are safe during this election season. This call was paid for by the Dallas County Republican Party."
NBC 5 ran the names for a criminal background search, and found some with felony charges and some that had charges dropped or dismissed.
Miklos said four of the workers mentioned in the GOP press release are no longer with the campaign and only briefly worked for the campaign.
He said three of the workers are still with the campaign but said two don't have any violent history. One worker listed in the report had a robbery charge, but she is not going door-to-door and is pregnant, Miklos said.
"With nonviolent offenders, I think you absolutely have to give a chance to a non-violent offender, to be able to be able to become involved with their community, absolutely," he said. "It's also the candidate's job to make sure that people are not dangerous going door to door, absolutely."
The names of the workers were listed on campaign finance disclosure records, which are public record.
Miklos said he isn't going through his opponents finance records to look for workers with criminal backgrounds and accused Sheets of being scared to campaign on his record.
Sheets said he was aware of the information but stressed that he’s not behind the release of the information. He said the Dallas County Republican Party is behind the information.
"We knew that they had these documents, but we've been focused on our campaign," he said. "And they decided to make an issue out of this. I see why, because those documents are disturbing in what they show about some of the employees hired by Mr Miklos. I believe the documents are disturbing. For me, if these allegations are true, I believe it demonstrates a really poor judgment on behalf of Mr. Miklos."
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