Brainerd City Council candidate quits over online bullying

"I never expected anything like this from the people in our city."
Author:
Publish date:

A candidate for the Brainerd City Council has pulled out of the race amidst what he calls "extreme defamation" and "bullying" online.

Chris Mathison announced his decision in a Facebook post on Friday:

Mathison, 32, was running for the council's at-large seat (which means he would have represented the community as a whole and not a single district) against incumbent Sue Hilgart.

As the Brainerd Dispatch noted after Mathison announced his candidacy in June, the "the recent closure of his former employee at Papa John's Pizza," and his past struggles with depression and anxiety, were "factors prompting him to pursue a seat in which he could speak for underrepresented groups."

It seems to have been the latter impetus – Mathison's having overcome mental health challenges – that the online bullies targeted.

"These people attacked me for my mental disorders," he told one of the commenters in his Facebook post Friday. 

He also said they "dug into my social security/disability info, started making things up about me," and sent him messages "threatening to 'beat my ass.'" 

While a number of commenters urged him not to drop out of the race, Mathison's decision seems to have been made.

"Hard to sit on the City Council of a city that's just tore you apart," he said in one comment. 

"I expected some kind of questioning of my past, my disorder, etc, absolutely," he added, "But a public shaming ?? (sic)"

He also apologized for "not following through" on his promises to run.

Nonetheless, Mathison's name will still be on the ballot, as early voting has already started, the Pioneer Press reports. 

Next Up

Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville.

Alibi Drinkery owner denied liquor license for Northfield restaurant

The state took action against Lisa Monet Zarza for violating COVID-19 executive orders.

Screen Shot 2021-04-16 at 10.06.46 AM

Deputy dies suddenly while on duty at Olmsted County Jail

The deputy had worked for the county since 1995.

covid, vaccine

Pop-up vaccine clinics provide access to Minnesotans in need

There will be 12 more pop-up clinics by the end of April.

ambulance

State Patrol: Man ran onto I-94, was fatally hit by car

He had been involved in a separate crash prior to running onto the freeway.

mississippi river

Crews search for person in Mississippi River in Minneapolis

The fire department lost visual of the person Thursday evening.

Brooklyn Center, protest, Daunte Wright

Police back off on 5th night of protests in Brooklyn Center

No tear gas or any other crowd control munitions were used.

Brooklyn Center unrest

National Guard soldiers asked to leave labor union HQ, sparking controversy

The military presence in the Twin Cities has been wearing on residents, but the decision to ask them to leave has been criticized by Gov. Tim Walz and GOP leaders.

Rennia Davis

Lynx select Rennia Davis in 2021 WNBA Draft

The Tennessee wing was selected ninth overall

Related

MN reporter cussed at, "threatened" in city council meeting

The city council has faced "rumors of dysfunction" in the past.

St. Paul bar calls it quits over gun violence in city

This comes after a shooting outside the bar early Friday.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Mpls council proposal would cut nearly $8M from 2021 police budget

The "Safety for All Budget Plan" was introduced Friday.

Chief Roger Pohlman

Red Wing police chief fired in controversial City Council vote

Chief Roger Pohlman served in his role for eight years.

St. Paul candidate swore at library staff, says he was defending teen

He's been banned from the city's library system for a month.

hotel

Mpls City Council passes 'right to recall' for laid-off hospitality workers

It impacts workers who were let go due to the pandemic.