BOISE – Idaho Secretary of State candidate Evan Frasure was “flabbergasted” late Monday when he learned that roughly 2,500 of the 2,859 “likes” on his campaign Facebook fan page were people from Istanbul, Turkey.
Pocatello City Councilman Steve Brown, a consultant for Frasure’s campaign, said he didn’t intend to buy overseas “likes” for the fan page.
“We were talking with a group about focusing on Facebook users in Idaho,” Brown said. “And they said, ‘Yeah, let us show you what we can do, we’ll give you a sample.’ And obviously, our demographics were not used in this. So we’re asking them … if we can reverse this, or if we have to delete the page and start over.”
Brown added, “Evan’s about ready to bite my head off on this one.”
The big jump in fans for the page happened in the past week and a half, with 18-24 the most common age group and Istanbul, Turkey the most common city among the page’s “likes.”
“I don’t want a bunch of names from Turkey, for heaven’s sake – that’s ridiculous,” said Frasure, who said he hadn’t looked at the page in two weeks and admitted he’s “not much of a Facebooker.” Said Frasure, “I don’t want any connection to something like that.”
Brown runs a political products company called “Doorstep Direct” in Pocatello, and Frasure’s campaign has purchased campaign pieces including palm cards and business cards from the firm. “He knows what he’s doing – they’re beautiful pieces,” Frasure said. “I think he’s trying to expand it a little bit. And he says, ‘Well, you ought to do this.’ He says, ‘My cousin’s quite good with it.’”
Brown said his cousin hooked him up with a Nevada firm to work on building the Facebook fan page; the cousin “had used them on several other businesses and hadn’t ever had a problem like this,” Brown said. “I was looking for somebody who’s a little more knowledgable in how to focus on those demographics.”
Brown said the page had about 200 likes before he brought in the firm. “Obviously we won’t be using them,” he said.
Frasure said, “I’m kinda flabbergasted on this whole thing. It’s a bone-headed mistake and it’s going to be corrected as fast as I can.” He added, “He says he can have it rectified pretty dang quick.”
Frasure, a Republican and former state senator from Pocatello, is a high school government teacher. He’s one of four announced GOP candidates vying to become Idaho’s next Secretary of State.