Can­di­date’s vol­un­teer ac­cused of trolling

The Idaho Statesman (Sunday) - - LOCAL - BY CYN­THIA SEWELL csewell@ida­hostates­

In the last days be­fore Tues­day’s elec­tion, the Idaho Repub­li­can Party has ac­cused the Demo­cratic can­di­date for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor of en­cour­ag­ing and har­bor­ing an in­ter­net troll.

Kristin Col­lum told the States­man that GOP claims that one of her cam­paign vol­un­teers is also a troll us­ing the name “Patch Eu­dor” are false.

On Tues­day, a state party news re­lease sought to link Eu­dor to vol­un­teer Jerry Dec­ime, who Col­lum said is her chief se­cu­rity of­fi­cer. The re­lease said Eu­dor has been tar­get­ing Col­lum’s op­po­nent, Repub­li­can Jan­ice Mcgeachin — among other things, post­ing im­ages at­tempt­ing to con­nect her to white na­tion­al­ists.

“Patch Eu­dor has been ha­rass­ing and post­ing pho­tos, ma­nip­u­lated im- ages and screeds about Mcgeachin on Face­book, Twit­ter, Red­dit and else­where on­line,” the news re­lease stated. “... His be­hav­ior ranges from crude and misog­y­nis­tic to near defam­a­tory.”

As ev­i­dence, the state party pre­sented pho­tos posted by Eu­dor that fea­tured some­one who looks like Dec­ime, as well as shared work and per­sonal in­ter­ests listed on­line for each per­son.

Col­lum said she asked Dec­ime if he op­er­ated any on­line aliases mak­ing the so­cial me­dia posts di­rected at Mcgeachin.

“He said he is not,” she said, though “they ap­pear to run in sim­i­lar cir­cles.”

Col­lum later is­sued a pub­lic state­ment:

“Yes­ter­day the Idaho GOP ac­cused one of my vol­un­teers of be­ing mean to my op­po­nent on so­cial me­dia. While these claims are of ques­tion­able ac­cu­racy or se­ri­ous­ness, I’d like to be­lieve that Jan­ice Mcgeachin and I are both will­ing to call on our sup­port­ers to be more civil. I cer­tainly be­lieve that this cam­paign should be about the is­sues fac­ing Idaho and which can­di­date is bet­ter suited to the task, not what our sup­port­ers post on­line.”

Col­lum did not men­tion Dec­ime in the news re­lease or deny his in­volve­ment, which the Idaho Repub­li­can Party quickly pointed out.

“In six para­graphs, not once did Kristin Col­lum ad­dress whether her Chief Se­cu­rity Of­fi­cer Jerry Dec­ime is Patch Eu­dor,” said Idaho GOP com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Mary Strow in a Wednes­day news re­lease. “There is am­ple ev­i­dence that Dec­ime ei­ther is or is at least very closely tied to him. This is not a friv­o­lous ques­tion.”

Mean­while, the Idaho Demo­cratic Party crit­i­cized the claims and said the GOP “is pan­ick­ing” ahead of the elec­tion.

“Their at­tacks have led to the per­sonal ha­rass­ment of a vol­un­teer and their fam­ily mem­bers,” a Wednes­day Demo­cratic press re­lease stated. “We find this kind of be­hav­ior dis­gust­ing and rep­re­hen­si­ble.”

It does not ap­pear Mcgeachin has spo­ken pub­licly on the claims.

Col­lum told the States­man on Thurs­day that she stands by her state­ment that Dec­ime is not Eu­dor, and she has no fur­ther com­ment.

KEVIN RANK Idaho Pub­lic Tele­vi­sion

Lieu­tenant gov­er­nor can­di­dates Demo­crat Kristin Col­lum, left, and Repub­li­can Jan­ice Mcgeachin at an Oct. 17 Idaho Pub­lic Tele­vi­sion de­bate.

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