Can one person overturn an election?
A Republican in Middletown was vetting candidates before the election. Not everyone’s hobby, but, OK. Something about one candidate didn’t seem right.
Most candidates talk the talk: community, public service, working for the people. Blah, blah, blah.
This person, Kristi Ann Morris, did not.
Christopher Nowakowski said, “She was an election denialist, but a lot of people are.
“Then I realized she was a conspiracy theorist, just off-the-wall. And I thought, ‘People don’t know.’”
He went on Middletown NextDoor to see if anyone else wondered about this candidate for Township Auditor, a person who handles all of their personal information. In fact, people had seen her QAnon bumper stickers. Then someone tracked down her postings on Facebook and a website called GAB.com. Mostly reposts.
Don’t go to gab.com. It’s like poison ivy for the brain.
Former president-although-he-doesn’t-think-so Trump posts there. On Monday this week Trump said Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota is off the Trump train because he admitted that Biden won the election. “Is he crazy or stupid?” Trump posted. “The fraudulent and irregular votes are massive!” Marjorie Greene posts on gab.com. Note: That’s not a crime. So do Paul Gosar and Matt Gaetz. The general gist of information there is that Fauci is a criminal and near death, but should be arrested first. Also, something in vaccines cause autism.
And here are some of Morris’s reposts:
Nowakowski, who spends as much time as he can in Myanmar — “The people there are so friendly and open hearted,” he says — felt he needed to inform someone. “First election denialism, then the hate speech and QAnon,” he told the Beacon. “I thought, ‘I can’t live with myself if I don’t do something.”
He naively posted, the day before the November election, on Middletown Nextdoor, “Calling all sane Republicans.”
The backlash asked whether he really was a Republican. Morris herself responded when Nowakowski said she favored the Arizona “recount.” Her reply, repeated, was that she just wanted “Free and fair elections.”
Some hostile responders on NextDoor apparently grew to like what Morris stood for, and said that they now knew who they wanted to vote for.
Morris got 6784 votes on November 2, beating her opponent by more than 400 votes.
Most people would give up at that point. Christopher Nowakowski did not.
What bothered him in particular were Morris’s relentless antisemitic jibes at people who created covid vaccines, and her conspiracy theory that September 11 was the work of George Bush and Israel. In fact, there was a thread of antisemitism in most of Morris’s posts, as outlined in Tom Sofield’s excellent reporting in Levittownow. (Levittown is part of Middletown Township; Middletown is one of five townships in Bucks County.)
Nowakowski is not Jewish. He simply believes that anyone so biased should not hold public office in his township. “Right after Christmas,” he said, “I thought, I’ve got to go to this meeting.”
He made his stand at the reorganization meeting of the Board of Supervisors on January 3. It is on videotape and some parts are quite entertaining,. The meeting begins with the swearing in of newly elected officials, including Kristi Ann Morris. She left early on. Things get especially interesting starting at about 50 minutes.
There was a call for public comment. Nowakowski, wearing a mask and a mustard-colored sweater, took the microphone. He read a long statement. And then began holding up the alarming posts, and reading some of the texts, apologizing for what they said.
At the end, he told supervisors he was making the material available to them.
Mike Ksiazek, the chairperson of the Middletown board of supervisors, told the Beacon, “after the meeting, the board members each had an opportunity to individually review the information.” That night and the following day, he said, “we began the process of trying to verify that the posts indeed came from Ms. Morris.”
Events jumped ahead. The next night was the first meeting of the Board of Auditors, including Morris. The dogged Nowakowski was there.
“I don’t think she suspected anything,” he told the Beacon, referring to Morris. “She even said hello to me.”
It was a small meeting. When the time came for public comment, Nowakowski stood up. This time he left the reveal to the end. “Do you know who said these things? That person is sitting in this room. Kristi Ann Morris!”
He looked at her and asked, “What do you have to say for yourself?”
Her response was, “I want to talk to my lawyer.”
Shortly after that she left the meeting. Outside Nowakowski watched her drive off.
In the meantime, one of the Republicans on the Board of Supervisors spoke to the Middletown Township Republican Committee, and they in turn questioned Morris. She admitted that she was the person who made those posts. The Republican Committee had endorsed her for auditor in the 2021 election, and asked for her resignation, which she tendered, from them, and from the job.
“They didn’t even care to vet her,” Nowakowski says, bitterly, of the Republican Committee.
Asked why he did all this, he said, “I believe in standing up for other people.”
Mike Ksiazek told us: “We received the resignation via email on January 6. We will have to vote to formally accept her resignation at our next public meeting, on January 18.”
The Board of Supervisors and the Middletown Township Republican Committee both wrote eloquent statements condemning hate speech, but without mentioning Kristi Ann Morris.
And so ends the tale of Christopher Nowakowski and Kristi Ann Morris. The Township will appoint a Republican who lives in Middletown Township to fill out her six-year term.
Hmm. We’re just sayin’ …