This morning, vineyard owner Brad Goehring, a Lodi Republican candidate for the 11th Congressional District now held by Democrat Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, posted this on his Facebook page.
“If I could issue hunting permits, I would officially declare today opening day for liberals. The season would extend through November 2 and have no limits on how many taken as we desperately need to ‘thin’ the herd.”
More than 50 people commented on his post, including one who commended Goehring for his frank remarks, stating, “Washington needs honest Americans!”
Other commenters and Facebook friends were less supportive.
Tracy resident Jim Freeman said was shocked by Goehring’s Facebook post.
“That was pretty surprising to see by somebody that is a congressional candidate making a statement like that,” said Jim Freeman of Tracy. “To me, it’s undignified. I think we have to expect more from somebody that wants to be a congressman.”
Goehring campaign manager Carl Fogliani said the post was misunderstood.
”I think it’s pretty obvious he’s talking about elections,” Goehring’s campaign spokesman, Carl Fogliani said. “It’s a campaign. People are trying to make an issue out of nothing.”
Goehring apologized for his comments in follow-up post a few hours later.
“I intended to include the wording 'we would use votes and not bullets' (but) hit the share button by accident before I finished and decided to leave it, thinking it would not be taken in a literal sense,” Goehring posted. “I'm sorry if I confused anyone.”
Goehring deleted the posts a few hours later.
Four candidates are on the Republican ballot for the June 8 primary, where only one will go on to battle McNerney’s seat.
Fogliani said “things like this are a diversion” and he doesn’t think it will affect Goehring in the June 8 primary.
Goehring’s competitors include Tony Amador, a retired U.S. marshal from Lodi; Elizabeth Emken, an autism advocate with a background in corporate finance from Danville and David Harmer, an attorney from San Ramon.
Freeman said he wants to see McNerney unseated, and that he follows the campaign through social media and e-mail updates since he attended a January Republican candidate’s forum in Manteca. Freeman said Goehring’s Facebook post will affect how he votes in the primary.
“The timing of this coming out — before the primary election — makes me feel more strongly that I would support David Harmer,” Freeman said.
A spokeswoman for McNerney had no comment about the Facebook post. Campaign spokespeople for Emken and Harmer also had no comment. Amador’s office did not return a phone message.
Contact reporter Jaclyn Hirsch at 830-4269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.