Over the past couple of days I’ve noted that Democratic U.S. House candidate Chase Iron Eyes deleted his prodigious social media presence before announcing his campaign, and also has felony convictions on his record.
Today Iron Eyes spoke with reporter Mike Nowatzki on both of those issues.
First, the social media:
Iron Eyes also addressed why he recently deleted his social media accounts, as Port also had noted, suggesting Iron Eyes may be trying to hide political views that voters would find extreme – referencing his writings on Last Real Indians, a website founded by Iron Eyes which he says is now managed by a friend on the West Coast.
“I’m not a groomed politician, so my social media presence reflected my humor, my sarcasm, my role as a leader in the Native American community and a social justice activist,” Iron Eyes said. “The risk of having people take things out of context is too great. … I’ve never done this before and need to do this from the ground up.”
That makes sense. I’m sure we’ve all posted things on social media that, under the bright lights of scrutinyi in a campaign, probably wouldn’t look great.
But for Iron Eyes, part of his resume is his activism on behalf of Native American issues, and his social media is a big part of that activism. It’s hard to judge his qualifications to be a member of the U.S. House without that record.
And, frankly, I think what Iron Eyes is hiding is less crude jokes than some pretty extreme politics.
As to the felonies:
He doesn’t remember how he ended up alone at the house with the kicked-in door, or why he walked out of it carrying two cases of antique shotguns when the police showed up.
“I couldn’t really piece together the whole thing. I was blank-out drunk,” he said.
Now 38 years old, a decade sober and seeking the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party’s endorsement for Congress, Iron Eyes said he’s not trying to hide his past and hopes voters will see him for what he’s done with his life since then.
“That wasn’t my character then. It was a very serious mistake that I took responsibility for. When you go through something like that, you think your life is over. You hit rock bottom, and I hit rock bottom. And for some reason, God saw fit to give me a second chance,” he said. “I regained the strength to believe that I was not going to let that incident define me.”
There can be power in a redemption story, I think, but voters can’t be blamed for being suspicious of someone with sort of a track record.
On a related note, after I broke the news about Iron Eyes’ criminal record last night, many were asking whether or not he’d be eligible to vote in the 2016 election.
He can. In North Dakota felons regain their voting rights once their incarceration is over.