WEST DEPTFORD TWP., N.J. --A race for township council in Gloucester County that very few people knew about exploded onto the national stage Monday via social media.
A reporter for the website the Daily Beast exposed the writer of some very nasty and obscene posts towards her as a GOP candidate for the West Deptford Township Committee.
The day began when Daily Beast reporter Olivia Nuzzi shared an article written by someone else about Donald Trump's ex-wife Marla Maples.
In two Facebook comments Mike Krawitz, a candidate for the committee, wrote to Nuzzi saying: [Expletive] You. Olivia, I. Hope. Somebody. Rapes. You. Today. :)."
In another comment he wrote: "Hope. You. Get. Raped. By. A. Syrian. Refugee. :)"
Action News went to Krawitz's home to ask him about the posts.
A woman there told us he was home and went to get him.
"Michael, Dann Cuellar is here," the woman said before closing the door.
We waited and waited and knocked on the door.
But then the woman returned and said, "He's not here."
Krawitz is quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer as saying that it was not him, but a hacker who posted the offensive comments.
But Nuzzi tells Action News, Krawitz has been trolling her since 2014.
In a post dated August 10, Krawitz asked Nuzzi on Facebook: "How's. The. Gun. Crime. In. Democrat. Chicago. Oliva. You. Ugly. Stupid. [Expletive.] :)"
Each of the comments are marked by periods after every word and a smiley face.
Action News spoke with Joann Priga, the woman running with Krawitz for council, to hear what she had to say about all this.
"I have no comment," Priga said.
We asked if her if she was still going to run with Krawitz for the position.
"I am running. I have no comment. Thank you," Priga said.
In a statement to Action News, Olivia Nuzzi says:
Reporters, particularly female reporters, are frequently subject to harassment from internet trolls. It strikes me as unprecedented that such a troll be given the legitimacy that comes with a spot on the ballot as a Republican, the minor nature of the position he is seeking notwithstanding. I've been covering Donald Trump since before he formally launched his candidacy and, given that, I've been on the receiving end of a lot of colorful hate mail. However, I've never had a candidate for public office essentially call for my rape or assault before. I do believe in free speech, and so in my view, it's up to the Republican Party of West Deptford and the voters to decide if they want this man representing them. I have faith that most voters in New Jersey and around the country disapprove of hateful rhetoric of this nature. As a reporter, bullying of this kind from would-be politicians makes you fear for your First Amendment rights. As an American and a woman, it makes you fear for the state of our country and the safety of half the population that inhabits it.
Meanwhile, the public was weighing in, as well.
"I think that's pretty rude. I think if anyone else would put that up there, they would probably get charged for harassment or anything else. I don't think we want this person in our city council," Teresa Alicea of West Deptford said.
Action News reached out to the West Deptford Republican Club for comment, but have not heard back.
Their website still lists Joann Priga and Mike Krawitz as candidates.