An indication of how close the 2nd Congressional District race is the campaigns’ opposition research is reaching down into the barrel for Facebook postings.
Republican incumbent Steve Southerland and Democratic challenger Gwen Graham are fighting it out in one of the few districts in the country which may change hands this fall. Graham has outraised Southerland and both parties believe they can win the battle.
Southerland has had to fight off allegations that he is condescending and insensitive to women issues. Graham last month skewered Southerland over a men-only fundraiser, calling it sexist. The invitation included “Tell the Misses not to wait up because the after dinner whiskey and cigars will be smooth & the issues to discuss are many.”
Southerland responded to the criticism by asking if Graham had ever been to a lingerie shower.”
Reaction to both Graham’s and Southerland’s remarks depended on party affiliation.
Now along comes Jason Pun, a field director for the Southerland campaign. Pun, a former Republican Party of Florida intern and one-time Florida State University student’s Facebook posting includes derogatory and condescending comments about women, here and here; an invitation to a cocaine binge, the N-word, and jokes about Hitler invading Poland.
Pun recruited volunteers among Florida State University students for the Southerland campaign. Here’s a post from the College Republicans page.
Southerland said Pun had been relieved of his duties.
“One of our field staffers posted offensive comments on Facebook that don’t reflect my views or the views of my campaign. As soon as I was made aware of the comments, I made the decision to relieve this staffer of his duties – effective immediately,” said Southerland. “ America’s at a crossroads, and it’s sickening that both parties would rather battle it out in the gutter than address the serious challenges facing hardworking families.”
When told about Pun’s different postings a source close to the campaign said there are postings by people affiliated with the Graham campaign that are in the same vein as Pun’s .
Mark Ernest Logan is Graham’s son and served as the campaign’s social media director for the “Grillin with the Graham’s” 14-county summer campaign swing through the district.
A derogatory term for gays is included in his Facebook postings. Unlike Pun’s page one needs to be a “friend” to see the postings. The National Republican Congressional Campaign provided screen shots of Facebook conversations Logan had posted.
The NRCC noted that Graham is aware of her son’s postings. It included a screen shot of a conversation where she complimented Logan on his cover photo.
Disclosure: Peter Schorsch, the executive editor of this blog, is a campaign contributor to Gwen Graham.