The creator of political attack website targeting Fargo Rep. Joshua Boschee has been outed as a Minnesota state senator’s teenage son.
Calvin Benson, an 18-year-old freshman at North Dakota State University, said he and “a number of people” were involved in creating the site joshdidthat.com, which accuses Boschee of neglecting cancer research and the homeless while in office.
Zac Echola of Fargo was able to reveal Benson’s identity after a search of the website’s registration.
When Echola confronted Benson on Facebook, Benson denied his involvement and accused Echola of being a “paid poster.”
Benson then appears to have deleted some of his posts.
“This poor kid got owned so badly he’s slowly turning into a corn cob,” Echola tells Mean Read.
Benson wants to apologize to Echola. “I lied to him on Facebook and that was inappropriate of me, but frankly, I felt like I was being personally attacked,” Benson said in a phone interview.
Benson’s mother is Minnesota State Senator Michelle Benson, a Republican from Ham Lake. He said she has no involvement in this.
“This has nothing to do with her and frankly the fact that he went as far as to mention that deeply bothers me,” Benson said of Echola.
Anti-Boschee attack ads with the catchphrase “Josh Did That” have also appeared in the High Plains Reader.
The website says it’s “Paid for by the North Dakota Republican Party.” Benson said the party didn’t tell him to make the website, but it did reimburse him for expenses. He wouldn’t say who else was involved in the website.
He defended the site’s criticisms of Boschee, a state House representative running for re-election in north Fargo’s District 44.
“What we’re saying is he said one thing on the campaign trail and then voted a different way,” Benson said.
The site says Boschee voted against funding for cancer research, helping the homeless and childcare facilities, while voting for the purchase of a ski resort. Boschee previously explained his votes to Mean Read and said the attack unfairly represents his views. Boschee is involved in groups to help the homeless and fight cancer.
Benson said he believes anyone who voted for the ski resort — several top Republicans did — deserves criticism.
He said he “definitely” doesn’t have plans to create any more political attack sites. Unless he sees the need to call out a politician for being “hypocritical.”