Finding N.C. Rep. Michele Presnell on Twitter requires some spelling skills.
The real Presnell, a Burnsville Republican, uses the handle @RepPresnell. Leave off the second “l” and you’ll be following @RepPresnel, a parody account where someone mocks the legislator on a daily basis.
After the fake Presnell tweeted a critique of House Speaker Tim Moore on Friday, the real Presnell felt the need to set the record straight. “News flash...my name is spelled Michele Presnell,” she tweeted. “If you get tweets w my photo but misspelled name its not me.”
Presnell is one of a dozen or so North Carolina legislators and politicians to inspire parody Twitter accounts. Politicians, journalists and others often get confused and tag a parody account by mistake.
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Earlier this week, the N.C. Department of Agriculture’s official account retweeted a fake account mocking former Rep. Nathan Ramsey, who’s a dairy farmer. The fake Ramsey joked that the cold weather had caused his cows to produce ice cream, adding “#moo.”
The retweet was later deleted after the real Ramsey questioned why he remains fodder for a parody. “I'm no longer a legislator but somebody still running parody acct @NathenRamsay115 got #WayTooMuchFreeTime,” Ramsey – @NathanRamsey115 – tweeted.
While popular parody accounts impersonate Gov. Pat McCrory, Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry and other top politicians, the mock accounts for lesser-known GOP legislators seem to be more of a personal vendetta.
They typically appear when the legislator blocks an anonymous liberal Twitter user, @BackwardNC, who likes to criticize Republicans online. The website listed on the parodies is ThisIsWhatIGetForBlockingPeople.gov.