Brainerd City Council candidate left the race over online harassment

Chris Mathison says he chose self-care over public office

Dan Cook
October 09, 2018 - 5:40 pm

Chris Mathison was running for Brainerd City Council, and then he wasn’t.

He started as most folks do, wanting to be involved in shaping public policy.

“I’ve been kinda looking for something to challenge myself with, and politics lately have been a passion of mine,” Mathison told Paul & Jordana, “Instead of just having the conversation I wanted to be part of the action. And so I thought that would be a good first step in the right direction.”

For most of the campaign, it was the kind of civic experience he’d hoped for. But recently things changed.

“It started as one person. The Brainerd Dispatch puts out a voters guide,” said Mathison, “Someone had posted a picture of my page with the comment “God help us all”. And then the comments section began to blow up. At first it was just petty, stupid insults. It kinda escalated though from there.”

Chris had been open in his community about his mental health and the steps he’d taken to seek self-care. Sadly, that become fodder for critics who disagreed with him over his political views.

Ultimately, Chris decided that it was better for his health to leave the race, than to continue dealing with online trolls. But he says it was lamentable that this is what politics has come to in this day and age.

“I cannot believe, and it just broke my heart to see people in my hometown acting this way and being proud of it,” Mathison said, “It was really a blow, and not just the personal remarks, but just the idea that these people can say these things and then smile and laugh about it. It blows my mind what their thought process must be like.”    

Hear the entire conversation Paul and Jordana had with Chris: