Democrat Kevin Strouse’s congressional campaign in Pennsylvania sent out an email blast on Tuesday showcasing the personal story of a young field organizer — but failed to notice racist and bigoted tweets on that staffer’s Twitter account before making her a public face in the campaign.
It’s the second time in less than two weeks that people working for Democratic House candidates have been caught with offensive content on their Twitter accounts — an unusual situation that political pros believe points to a Democratic disinterest in vetting campaign staff.
Strouse, who is angling to unseat House Republican Mike Fitzpatrick from Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district, unveiled a new blog last Thursday with a story written by the field organizer in question. That post was then sent out in an email blast to supporters on Tuesday.
Because the employee was between 17 and 18 years old when the tweets were posted and did not work for Strouse at that time, The Daily Caller has chosen not to reveal her identity. But the tweets themselves point to a serious lack of judgment — both on her part and on the Democratic candidate’s decision to make her a integral part of his outreach campaign.
For those keeping score, that’s one racial slur, one anti-Mormon remark, one oddly race-tinged comment on lesbian couples and a rape joke. How would a Republican staffer with such a rap sheet be treated?
“The campaign strongly condemns the content of the staffer’s tweets and the staffer has taken them down at the request of the campaign,” Strouse campaign manager Brendan McPhillips told TheDC. He noted that while the most insensitive tweet “cited the title of a song by John Lennon . . . the history and context of one of the words included in that title evokes strong emotions and it was insensitive and inappropriate to use.”
He added that the staffer had “learned that lesson” and that the offensive tweets had been removed from her Twitter account.
Political operatives in Washington, D.C. were stumped by the Strouse campaign’s failure to catch the offending tweets — an ironic oversight for a candidate who used to work for the CIA.
A Republican operative familiar with digital media campaigns told TheDC it was highly unusual for a House campaign to send out a fundraising email from a field organizer without first running a background check on his or her social media, adding that his own Twitter feed was searched for offensive content on every campaign he worked for.
“A smarter campaign would’ve quickly vetted this person before they let them send out a fundraising email on the campaign’s behalf,” he said. “Looks like someone didn’t do their homework.”
This is the second Democratic campaign staffer caught behaving badly on Twitter this month. On July 19, a local New York media outlet Newsday reported that 22-year-old Zach Tierney, the field director for Democrat Kathleen Rice’s House bid in the state’s 4th congressional district, tweeted sexist and racist comments while employed by the campaign.
“#ImInTheFriendZoneBecause I have progressed past public physical abuse of women, but not quite past viewing them as property,” he tweeted under the handle “brotis redding” on April 6.
In another tweet from July 11, the Manhattan resident said there were “more Dominican girls walking over the 145th st bridge right now than there are girls in the Dominican Republic.” And on March 28 he tweeted, “When white tourists watch 4 black people walk by then stop you to ask how to buy a metrocard you’re supposed to tell them it’s $50 right?”
The Rice campaign called the tweets “stupid, insensitive attempts at sarcasm and parody by a young staff member mocking the anti-women attitudes that have come to define [her Republican opponent] Bruce Blakeman’s tea party.” They added the tweets had been removed and Tierney had been “disciplined.”
Despite calls from the Blakeman campaign to fire Tierney, the field director continues to work for the New York Democrat’s congressional campaign. His Twitter account has since been set to private.