Some computer sleuths have been digging into a website set up to trash land commissioner candidate Monty Davenport. Nominally the work of interested citizens, it (and an anonymus commenter touted it here on this blog) apparently has manipulative opponent  L.J. Bryant’s fingerprints all over it. I’ve asked for his response. I’ve been troubled all along by Bryant’s close ties to Jack Critcher and Tim Wooldridge. You want to grab your wallet and watch your back when good Christians like these are in the fray.

UPDATE: L.J. Bryant responds (HE is the victim of the fraud, he says.):

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While this is clearly a distraction from my campaigning, I’m pleased to tell you that I categorically deny that I have had anything to do with the GreedyMontyDavenport website.  I first became aware of the site back in April when I received by regular mail a printout of the homepage.  It came to me in a plain white envelope and was hand-addressed.  Out of not much more than curiosity, I sent one email (see below) to the site asking who was behind it.  I received no reply and have had no contact at all with whoever remains behind the site.  I do not have any knowledge whatsoever about who created the site or who runs the site, but I can honestly say that to my knowledge, it is not me or anyone that I know or have ever had contact with.  All one needs to do is go to my campaign website (www.ljbryant.com) to see the extreme quality of top-line work that I generate and see the vast differences in the 2 sites.  I can also say, that while the emails that appear to have come from me, they did not.  However, you can be assured that I’ll be trying to figure how this fraud was perpetrated and hopefully, I’ll be able to expose whoever is behind it and also who they work for.

Who knows? I will say this about the argument from Bryant’s people that this was a setup to help Davenport. It would be a mighty sophisticated and convoluted scam to set up a website trashing a candidate that is actually intended to HELP that candidate through double-reverse hocus pocus in the 11th hour of a runoff campaign.  I’d apply Occam’s razor. The website was set up by someone hoping to help Bryant and hurt Davenport. That doesn’t mean Bryant was directly involved. It is easy to create bogus e-mails. And, as someone has observed, would they be so moronic as to leave such a clear trail?

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UPDATE II: It’s only a tiny piece of this puzzle, but Bill Simmons, political editor at the Democrat-Gazette, confirms that reporter Michael Wickline sent the questions reported to the operator of the website critical of Monty Davenport. So that portion, at least, of the e-mail chain is legitimate. Everything else remains a mystery.

UPDATE III: A further statement Wednesday from Bryant. He vows to get to the bottom of this. And more from Davenport, who condemns his opponent. The young whippersnapper should know better, Davenport says.

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