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Americans Kathleen Wynn, Tim Hudak dragged into Ontario election

What's in a name? A whole lot of random talk about scandals and policies from another country if you're Americans Kathleen Wynn and Tim Hudak.

Twitter feeds of Kathleen Wynn (not Wynne), Tim Hudak get busier during Ontario elections

Kathleen Wynn (with no e) and Tim Hudak of Washington D.C. are getting more attention on Twitter during election time. 2:14

The day was May 22, 2013.

It was Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne's 101st day in the premier's office, and the first time 24-year-old Kathleen Wynn from D.C. decided to reply to a few misguided or loose-fingered Canadian tweeters.

(Twitter)

Wynn (not Wynne) has the misfortune of having a Twitter username, @kathleenwynn, that's an underscore and letter "e" away from Wynne's, which is @kathleen_wynne.

The level of tweets directed at her has reached the point where she has set her biography to "I AM NOT A CANADIAN POLITICIAN, NOR DO I CARE ABOUT YOUR CANADIAN PROBLEMS. DO NOT TAG ME IN YOUR RANTS" followed by "AMERICA!"

"I think I had maybe 40 tweets today," she said via Skype on Wednesday night.

"Some people are nice, they're just misdirected and I'm just like, 'Hey, I'm not who you're trying to contact,' and other people are not so nice."

Her tweets are protected, meaning she has to let you follow her to read them — which she did for me. Here's a sample:

(Twitter)
(Twitter)
(Twitter)

I counted a total of 42 tweets correcting someone for tweeting to her instead of the Ontario politician.

Wynn said they started coming in November 2012, the month Wynne launched her campaign for the Liberal leadership, but really picked up around the time the provincial election began.

"I have to charge my phone way more often now," she said, due to the number of Twitter app notifications.

Meet Tim Hudak, a 28-year-old ex-marine

In a strange coincidence, another D.C. resident also shares a name with an Ontario political leader.

Tim Hudak, who tweets as @hoodyhudak, had served in the U.S. military but now works for the government.

And in what may be my favourite wrinkle, Ontario's PC Leader @timhudak is one of @hoodyhudak's 424 followers.

The American Hudak said he has actually talked to his Canadian name twin over Facebook, after several of the politician's friends started sending him friend requests.

"I'll see a post from Tim Hudak on his Facebook page and I'll post something on there that says, 'I'm Tim Hudak and I support this,' and I'll get something like 50 likes on that comment," he said.

However, the D.C. Hudak said he recently started a business and the whole name-sharing circumstance is making it hard to find his company through online search engines. 

A peek into the political life

Wynn said she had considered changing her Twitter name but hasn't, since it's not because of anything she's doing.

And if Kathleen Wynn ever had the chance to talk to Kathleen Wynne?

"I'd say, 'I don't know why you have a Twitter account,'" Wynn said. "'I don't know why you put up with it.'"

Tim Hudak said you can chalk him up as a Tim Hudak supporter.

"I wish nothing but success for him, who would I be to not wish success to one of the few people I know in Canada?" the American Hudak said.

"I hope he goes all the way and one day he'll be asking for me to be his liaison for the United States."

As far as I can tell, there are no Andrea Horwaths or Horvaths out there getting grief directed at Ontario's NDP leader, but I'd love to hear from you if you are.

Here's a Storify

Mobile users click here to see a collection of tweets to @kathleenwynn (the American) and tweet me at @amkfoote if you've got a mistaken identity story of your own.

About the Author

Andrew Foote

CBC Reporter

Andrew Foote has been with the CBC since February 2013 after graduating from Carleton University. He can be reached at andrew.foote@cbc.ca or @amkfoote on Twitter.

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