The creation of fake people is by no means unprecedented in campaigns -- the dead sometimes vote, petition signatures are often invalidated -- but you don't hear this type of allegation every day.
Former Houston mayor Bill White (D), who ran against (and lost to) Rick Perry for governor of Texas last fall, told Texas Monthly that consultants for Perry's 2010 gubernatorial campaign created a fake black person on Twitter, hoping to conjure an impression that African Americans liked Perry and didn't like White:
There were also some silly things that happened that are still hard to believe. One consulting firm of his created artificial people to tweet. [The campaign] wanted to question my support in the African American community, but they couldn't recruit an African American person to do it, so on Twitter they used a stock photo of a black person. One of the people who supported my campaign clicked on the image and found out it was a singer from Atlanta. The Twitter address was registered at the same location as one of Mr. Perry's political consultants.
Texas Monthly included no response from Perry's current presidential campaign. We will update this post if the Perry campaign responds to The Atlantic's request for comment.
Read the full story in Texas Monthly.