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2020

Hack sends Florida congressional candidate’s web traffic to a Viagra sales site

Google said it wasn’t them, but Curtis thinks it is.

Democrat Clint Curtis‘ congressional campaign could use a little, um, lift, but not like this.

Curtis, running against Republican Rep. Michael Waltz in Florida’s 6th Congressional District, thinks he has had the Google links to his campaign and law firm hacked, redirecting all traffic Thursday morning to a site advertising Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications.

The whistleblower lawyer and frequent Democratic candidate for elected office appeared to be two-parts upset and one-part amused. He suggested his campaign must be making someone nervous enough to go to significant effort to derail it.

“You don’t hack Google very easily,” he said.

The Google media office said Thursday that the problem was not on their end. “Google does not host the site, so you’ll have to check with the campaign about its host. And follow up with the correct site host for more info on the situation,” the office stated in a text to Florida Politics.

Curtis checked with his host site, and he still thinks it’s Google.

“It would appear Google is where we were hacked because all the other sites work,” he said.

Direct use of Curtis’s URL web addresses, ClintCurtis.com for his law firm, and ClintCurtis4Congress.com for his campaign, worked correctly Thursday. Searches through other search engines such as Yahoo! and Microsoft Bing also provided listings that led to his official sites, though there was a featured listing on Bing that routed to Viagra.

Yet if someone searched for Clint Curtis on Google and then clicked on links for his law office or campaign Thursday morning, they got ads for erectile dysfunction pills.

Curtis won the Democratic primary to run in CD 6 and has won some endorsements, including from the Orlando Sentinel. But he’s running a long-shot campaign against Waltz, essentially with no money, little name recognition outside of Orlando where he has his law practice and little Democratic establishment backing. Waltz is seen as a rising GOP star, has significant campaign money, and the full party apparatus behind him.

Geographically, CD 6 starts in northeastern Lake County, takes in all of Volusia County, then works northward up the coast to St. Augustine Beach, Waltz’s home. Republicans have a 7-point advantage in voter registration, but the district tends to break more Republican than that. Waltz defeated former Ambassador Nancy Soderberg‘s well-funded and well-organized campaign 56% to 44% in 2018.

Curtis said he has been getting calls from people wanting information about his candidacy and campaign, frustrated that they’re being offered Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis instead.

Curtis said he attempted to contact Google about the hack, but said he had not gotten a response.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Sonja Fitch

    October 15, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Of course any and everything touched by the goptrump cult is an act of desperation ! Must be worried goptrumpers! Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the common good!

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