The GOP primary for state treasurer got personal Wednesday night when one candidate, Jill Millies, said in a Facebook post that her opponent, Travis Hartwig, would be shot and that his fiancée will be raped.
The post was allegedly in response to Hartwig’s positions on gun control and abortion. Hartwig is pro-life and has an AQ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). Millies is for legalized abortion, including support for government funding of Planned Parenthood, and gets an F rating from the NRA.
In an interview on Thursday, Hartwig said he had to re-read the post after being stunned by the content.
“I didn’t think my opponent would go there,” Hartwig said. “And then we started taking it very seriously. We thought it was very inappropriate for anyone to threaten rape or gun violence in a post like that.”
Hartwig said it was especially upsetting that his fiancée was mentioned in Millies’ Facebook post.
“I personally chose to be in this race. I understand politics is ugly,” Hartwig said. “But personally I think my fiancée deserves better than that.”
Millies deleted the post on Thursday and issued an apology on Facebook to those that read it, but not to Hartwig, whose supporters caused her to lose her temper, she claims.
“I would like to apologize to anyone who read last nights comments on Facebook,” Millies wrote. “They have been deleted. My opponent and his supporters got the best of me and drew me into a fight on our beliefs of abortion.”
Millies then attempted to deflect attention by pointing to one question from the Ivoter Guide survey that she says prompted the exchange:
According to Ivoter Guide this question was:
Q: Under what circumstances should abortion be allowed?
Travis said NONE
Jill said “In any case of rape, or the woman is not mentally stable or in health issues.”
However, the Ivoter Guide asked the candidates if they agree or disagree with the statement, “Human life begins at conception and deserves legal protection at every stage until natural death.” Millies said she disagreed while Hartwig agreed.
The guide also asked the candidates to agree or disagree with a statement about Planned Parenthood, “Abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, should not receive funds from federal, state, or local governments.” Millies disagreed while Hartwig agreed.
While Millies did not respond to our request for an interview, she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the post was written out of frustration.
“Push come to shove, this is my first time in politics and I’m just sick and tired of Travis and his little minions coming onto my Facebook page and bashing the hell out of me all the time,” Millies told the newspaper. “I guess I just blew it after awhile.”