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Republicans stir social media outrage over pro-Clinton post on Erie County's official Twitter page

A tweet from Erie County's official Twitter account promoting Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has local Republicans fuming.

While is it very common for Democratic County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweet about his personal support for Clinton and other Democrats up for election or re-election – he tweeted about Clinton plenty while attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia – the official Erie County Twitter handle has always been reserved for official county news.

But the 11 p.m. post by @ErieCountyNY stating that four living presidents – Jimmy Carter, George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, George W. Bush – all support Hillary Clinton for president over Donald Trump was enough for Republican leaders to raise a ruckus about.

Erie County Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy and other local Republican leaders quickly started circulating a screen shot of the "anti-Trump propaganda," which was up for only a few minutes before being deleted.

In response, the county issued a statement making it clear that the tweet was posted by accident.

“A tweet was accidentally posted to @ErieCountyNY last night at approximately 11 p.m. by a staffer who had multiple Twitter accounts open at the same time," the statement reads. "The error was immediately recognized and the tweet was deleted within minutes of being posted. We apologize for any confusion and do appreciate that Erie County’s social media information is so closely followed.”

Monday afternoon, Poloncarz chimed in on Twitter, saying such a mistake is "unacceptable."

Langworthy said that given Poloncarz's "obsession" with Twitter and social media, he believes the county executive himself made the error in using @ErieCountyNY instead of @markpoloncarz to espouse his anti-Trump views. And if it wasn't Poloncarz, he said, that raises questions about how many communications officials have access to the county's official Twitter handle and their understanding of how it should be used.

"Something like this should never happen," Langworthy said. "It should be a very closely guarded account for public safety, to provide critical information for taxpayers. The fact that where was even an opportunity for this top happen is inexcusable."

County spokesman Peter Anderson, noted that Poloncarz is out of town this week on vacation. (The county executive sent his tweets from Scotland.) He reiterated that the post was quickly taken down and accused local Republicans, including Langworthy and Caputo, a Republican political strategist, of pouncing on the error to promote a "political, retaliatory" angle that doesn't deserve such public attention.

"Mistakes happen when people are working late at night and doing several things at once," Anderson stated. "Human error is always a possibility in communications, but thankfully the error was realized within a couple of minutes and corrected right away."

 

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