LANCASTER, S.C. — Since Tuesday, illegal robo-calls have targeted moderate-to-liberal residents in rural Lancaster and York Counties. Claiming that State Senate Democratic candidate Mandy Powers Norrell has been endorsed by a gay rights organization, the calls have yet to be traced to any existing organization or campaign.

“This is Allison calling from the Alliance for the Advancement of Gays and Lesbians,” the voice on the call says. “We are a pro-gay rights, pro-choice grassroots organization. I’m calling to let you know that we’re supporting Mandy Powers Norrell in the race for state senate. A proven Democrat, Mandy Powers Norrell supports homosexual unions and adoption rights.”

The organization claiming to make the call doesn’t exist. Norrell and Republican candidate Mick Mulvaney both say they have nothing to do with them. Political reporters and bloggers say the calls might have come from Norrell herself. If so, the tactic is undoubtedly an attempt to gain sympathy and more votes for Nov. 4. Others have claimed a third party, such as a group of trial lawyers or other political insider organization, might be responsible.

Norrell hinted that her Republican opponent is responsible for the calls. “My opponent has accused me of being for abortion and gay marriage and I have said unequivocally I am for neither,” she told The State newspaper in Columbia on Wednesday.

Mulvaney denies he’s responsible. “It’s clearly designed just to stir up hatred and to distract from the issues,” Mulvaney told the daily paper. “If this was my own mother I would condemn it and demand that they stop.”

This isn’t the first time gay issues have arisen in the State Senate race. Mulvaney admits to have “used [Norrell’s] own words against her.”

According to The State, Mulvaney raised both marriage and adoption with a reporter. “He read and sent a reporter a copy of an October 2004 e-mail that Norrell and her husband sent to friends defending U.S. Sen. John Kerry as he campaigned for president, explaining his stances on gay marriage and abortion rights,” the paper reported.

info: Listen to the robo-call online:

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.