Mary Lou Davis

Mary Lou Davis

A June 2017 political statement has sparked a feud two years later between a two local groups: Indivisible Johnstown and the Cambria County Republican Party.

Indivisible Johnstown held a town hall that year in which an effigy of then U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus – depicted as an empty suit with question marks in place of a face – was displayed.

Then, earlier this year, Mary Lou Davis, co-founder of the organization, wrote an op-ed in The Tribune-Democrat, offering her thoughts about Cambria County Republican Chairwoman Jackie Kulback’s comments that she believed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings from an investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election process “vindicated” President Donald Trump.

A question was then asked on Facebook: “Who is she?”

“This is the same woman who hung an effigy of Congressman Rothfus in her window. Had anyone done that to Obama ...” was posted in response on Facebook by Cambria County: Trump County – a post Davis captured.

Davis said she took umbrage to the word “hung” and called the Cambria County: Trump County contact phone number, which she then learned was the same as the county GOP’s headquarters.

Cambria County: Trump County then made a new post: “This is the same woman who placed an effigy of Congressman Rothfus in her window. Had anyone done that to Obama ...,” according to a second screenshot captured by Davis. The comment was eventually removed.

Davis is still upset about the description of the effigy, which was standing upright with its feet on the ground and no noose around its neck. According to a letter her attorney sent to Kulback, which Davis shared with The Tribune-Democrat, “the post was clearly intended to damage Ms. Davis’ reputation and, in fact, resulted in on-line attacks against her.”

Davis said Kulback has never responded directly to her about the matter.

Kulback declined to be interviewed for this article.

“I don’t care if people want to make nasty comments,” Davis said. 

“We know what social media is.”

But Davis said she was offended at the suggestion that Indivisible Johnstown had done something inappropriate or insensitive – “as if I would hang somebody in effigy … absolutely not.”

She added: “To me, to hang somebody in effigy is heinous.”

During the process, Cambria County: Trump County posted a comment with the definition of “effigy” and the statement “apparently we have to define this word for the uneducated.”

“My issue is not at all with ‘effigy,’ ” Davis said. “I’m very aware. I am educated. The issue is ‘hung’ and what that means.”

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5056. Follow him on Twitter @Dave_Sutor.

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