Missoula’s Mayoral Race Between Two Apparent Narcissists Gets Uglier A Week Out From The Close Of Filing

by Travis Mateer

UPDATE: I am told the FB group still exists, but it appears I am now being blocked by the people who are blocked by Jacob Elder.

With one week to go before the filing date closes for this year’s municipal elections, our candidates for Mayor appears to be a well-established narcissist with white skin who has built a well-oiled political machine to propel his career forward over the years, and a budding narcissist with black skin who has blocked so many people on social media that there’s a Facebook group called BLOCKED BY JACOB ELDER.

Or, I should say, there WAS a Facebook group. As of this morning it appears the group has been taken down by Administrator (and United Way employee) Grace Decker. I’m glad I pasted some of the content here, for this post, before THAT happened.

The story I found at the now defunct FB page comes from a person I’m familiar with through a family connection. I was under the impression she wasn’t going to share her story because she was THAT afraid of Jacob Elder.

Since Karen Wickersham, the retired chair of the Missoula County Democrats, feels comfortable enough to tell her story on a public Facebook group, then I’m going to assume it’s ok to paste that story for RD readers to read and ruminate over here. So here it is:

Thank you for creating this group! I wasn’t blocked because I never dared to comment on his page because I believe Jacob may be a pathological liar and know him to be very volatile. I was lied about, threatened and harassed by Jacob. His lies rippled out in the community and were not only personally hurtful, they were harmful to the County Democrats as I was the Chair at the time. Now that I have “retired” from being Chair, I can speak more openly. Jacob Elder lied and used racism and ageism against me. I have it all well documented. I sent my documentation to other executive board members over a year ago, the same night of his long ranting threatening call. Some of you may have heard and believed Jacob’s lies. Read on for the details:

Jacob was an alternate on our Democratic central committee. I welcomed him with open arms. When it was time to file with the County election office for the open seat in his precinct, a member of the committee (J.Kevin Hunt) had officially filed within days of it opening. As the 2 month filing period was soon closing, I called Jacob twice to remind him to file as he had not yet filed. I left messages both times. He called me back shortly before the filing closed. When we spoke, I reminded him how, where and by when he needed to file. He filed 2 days before closing. Another alternate in that precinct also filed – 3 days before closing.

I later learned from others Jacob had complained to that he blamed me for those 2 candidates filing for office as he thought he would be the only candidate. He blamed me for not controlling who could file with the County Elections Office. It was nuts! He told his story to anyone who would listen that I recruited these 2 as I didn’t want a young black man on our committee. His accusation was absolutely not true as demonstrated by my calls to Jacob to remind him to file. Both men who filed before Jacob had been active and attended our meetings long before Jacob appeared.

That is the beginning. Jacob went on to send an email to all members of the Democratic Central Commitee. It was a scorcher and he convinced some that I was a racist as he falsely alleged I maneuvered a county election so he wouldn’t win!

Jacob called me shortly before the county election was over. He was very angry. He threatened that he had dirt on me and would go public with it and even threatened legal action if I didn’t apologize. He would not tell me what I needed to apologize for and what the info he had about me was. He was livid and said he knew that I recruited others to file for “his” seat. He said he had “proof”. During his call, I asked him to electronically go to the public County Elections site with me and review the dates of the 3 candidate’s filings. He did and was very surprised and acknowledged that the 2 other candidates had filed before he did and that both those candidates had been alternates on our group long before Jacob started. I had not recruited either and told Jacob that. I reviewed the timing and events and asked him to consider that if I really did not want him to file, why would I have called him twice and helped him? If I truly wanted someone else, would I really keep calling him to remind him the date was closing soon to file? It was then he changed his anger at me to focus on my age and said I needed to resign. I asked him why – he said because I was over 50. He said everyone on our committee who was over 50 should resign. He blamed me for another member’s endorsement of one of his competitors and suggested I chastise that member for doing so. I refused to do that and explained to him all members (except the Chair and Vice Chair) may endorse and support any candidate they choose in a contested primary election. I suggested he call that member as that is who his complaint was about. He did and oddly and very telling, he had a positive and congenial conversation with that person who he felt had so wronged him. That member was male.

The whole incident was bizarre. The night he called, Jacob made me so uncomfortable, I asked my husband to listen in to witness Jacob’s diatribe. Jacob yelled, threatened, rambled – all over the most benign non incident. I pondered if he was either drunk or on drugs. It was that frightening. I remember feeling as though he may do physical harm to me or my home.

The consequence was that a few, but sadly, very vocal members of the Democratic Committee, and a few outside the group in Missoula believed Jacob and slandered me as a racist. Many still believe it. I can only hope now that so many are seeing this side of Jacob Elder for themselves, they will now think twice about what happened a year ago to me. He slandered and defamed me. The story he told, and has been retold by others since, was that I tried to keep a great young black law student from being elected to our committee because I was a racist. And if that didn’t stick – not only was I racist, but being old, I wanted to keep a young BIPOC off our group. None of it – not one word of that was ever true. I am putting this out here because I am so tired of people in politics getting away with unethical behavior in our community, our State, and in our country. We all need to do what we each can to hold people like Jacob Elder accountable for their behavior. Finally – telling my stories. There will be more.

Yes, there will be more, and some of that will be coming from direct messages that I have received from Elder after he took a social media victory lap claiming exoneration from the charges that prompted this post last month.

If Jacob Elder is the only candidate facing our 4-term Mayor–a man who has tools like an INCIDENT COMMAND TEAM to control the optics of homelessness (one of Engen’s many vulnerabilities)–then I don’t think Elder will be able to scrape together more than a few thousand votes by November.

Stay tuned…

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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