This week, Representative Jonathan Stickland took to Facebook and Twitter when he came across a voter with yard signs for both his primary opponent and Wendy Davis. The tweet has since been taken down, and the edited Facebook post says, “Just found this 'gem' while block walking.” Stickland posted a picture of the front yard complete with street number and a visible license plate. His original post – easily found through the edit history on Facebook – also included the street name and city where the voter lives.
Many of the comments on the post both from his supporters and Democrats upset at the invasion of privacy have been deleted, including one that implied attacking the home would be easy because liberal voters don't own guns. When asked, Stickland said, “It doesn't seem like it should be a problem telling everybody where they stand.” Stickland is no stranger to using social media as a method of intimidation – and then backtracking as quickly as possible.
More on Stickland's irresponsible post and voter intimidation tactics below the jump.Pointing out that a voter supports both his primary opponent, Republican Andy Cargile, and Democratic statewide candidate Wendy Davis is perfectly within Stickland's right. As a legislator whose claim to fame is the most conservative voting record in the Texas House during the 73rd Legislative Session, tying his opponent to Wendy Davis can't hurt his efforts to rally the conservative base heading into the primary. However, posting personal information that makes this particular person a potential target for some of the most right-wing voters in the state is intimidation – and it is totally unacceptable.
Though Stickland did ask his supporters to be “respectful of all individuals” in a later post, he followed it up by continuing to vilify Democratic voters:
…those seeking to steal your freedom and liberties are obviously very serious about their agenda. They will not stop but neither will we.
This isn't the first time Stickland has taken to social media platforms as tools for voter intimidation. During the protests against the omnibus abortion bill this past summer, Stickland alluded to the importance of being armed while surrounded by pro-choice voters at the capitol.
Some days u r extra thankful we still have the right 2 protect ourselves & the 2nd amendment-Today is 1 of those days #txlege
— Jonathan Stickland (@RepStickland) June 23, 2013
Stickland – who claims to always be carrying – later stated that the tweet was in reference to the unarmed unborn he and other conservatives were trying to protect.
Representative Stickland can try to explain away his irresponsible use of social media, but an alarming trend is clear: Stickland does not value the personal safety of those who oppose his views or candidacy. For someone so concerned with safeguarding life and liberty, it seems his dedication has a limit: those who don't agree with his dangerously conservative agenda. In a Republican-leaning House District with such a person as the current representative, it is no surprise that Democrats would go so far as to vote in a Republican primary in the hopes of ousting someone such as this.