Steve Weichert, the Democratic candidate for a state Senate seat in Arizona, said hackers hijacked his Twitter account and posted a slew of pornographic images. Weichert, who is running for Arizona's 17th district in the 2018 midterm elections, took to Twitter on Monday (7 August) to apologise for the "rather lewd posts".
"My apologies to anyone who may have received a rather lewd tweet from me this morning. My account was hacked. (Darn those Russians!)", Weichert tweeted. Weichert told ABC15 that he was dropping his daughters off at school when he found out about the alleged cyberattack.
"All of a sudden I just felt my phone blowing up. Somebody sent me a text saying 'What are you doing?' and I'm like 'What? What are you talking about?'" Someone then sent him a screenshot of his Twitter account that had retweeted a series of porn photos.
"I'm going, 'What?'" Weichert said. "It was a bad Monday".
He said he immediately scrambled to delete the retweeted posts, change his password and set up two-step verification. He added that the incident was very "disconcerting" because he often uses Twitter as a "lifeline to the people".
In response to a Twitter follower, he clarified that his Russian comment was "completely tongue in cheek".
"Of course the Russians had no part in this. I also don't believe this was even politically motivated," he tweeted. "And [for the record], I don't believe this is an attack from my political opposition. Just a cautionary tale reminding us all to be careful online.
"It feels more like I was just used by those trying to propagate their garbage. For all I know, I may have unwittingly clicked on some innocuous looking link that opened me up to all of this."
"It was kind of like that scene from I Love Lucy with the conveyer belt and the chocolate. Well, that's kind of how this was with pornographic images," Weichert said. "As a politician, you want to put your best foot forward in the community and sending out those images is not the way to put your best foot forward."
Weichert said he plans to file a police report with the Chandler Police Department and had a message for the perpetrator behind the hack as well.
"Stop. This is my integrity on the line. We need to stop trying to attack politicians", Weichert said during the interview.