DeMatteo/Lillie presidential ticket struck from ballot
DeMatteo's Campaign Poster (Jake McLernon)
Update - 8:10 p.m., April 10: Letter from DeMatteo, Lillie declines comment
George Mason Student Government Presidential candidate Michael DeMatteo has been removed from candidacy by the Election and Dispute Commission after Kristie Colorado, chair of GMU College Republicans, filed a grievance regarding a voicemail and several text messages which she considered to be of a threatening nature.
The EDC found that content in a series of April 4 and 5 communications from DeMatteo to Colorado “stated a number of vague threats, and a concrete threat, to 'have you blacklisted by the Republican Party of Virginia. And I will do it and I can do it with a text message.'”
DeMatteo did not dispute Colorado's claims at an April 5 EDC hearing, according to an EDC document.
According to the commission, the statements rise to a level of “extreme misconduct in the form of a threat.” The commission determined that with this finding it is “bound by mandates” in 6 CSG §605, which states the Election Judicial Board has the right to remove candidates for several different offenses. The exact wording of 6 CSG §605 can be found here.
The EDC also ruled to recommend to Colorado that she reports the communications to university and law enforcement officials.
Since DeMatteo has been removed from the election, his running mate, Michael Lillie, has also been removed. As of 6 p.m. Wednesday, students may still select DeMatteo's ticket on the ballot, though there is a statement noting the EDC's decision.
Timeline of Events
Colorado filed two grievances. The first came after DeMatteo made a statement in which he said he was endorsed by the College Republicans. The EDC ruled that DeMatteo was in violation of election standards, which state that candidates must receive any endorsements or sponsorships in writing. DeMatteo did not dispute the allegation that he had not received formal endorsement by the College Republicans, according to an EDC document.
Colorado then filed a second grievance with the EDC after DeMatteo left a voicemail followed by multiple text messages. An e-mail was also sent from DeMatteo to Colorado and others questioning her leadership abilities, according to an EDC document.
The EDC ruled that DeMatteo be removed from the election due to the content of the voicemail and text messages and that Colorado should report DeMatteo's actions to university officials and to law enforcement, according to an EDC document.
The voicemail said
“Kristie, Michael DeMatteo here. I'm just giving you a call here because I got an EDC grievance that you had filed. Two options, I want you to come to the meeting tonight at seven—if you don't, I'll have you blacklisted by the Republican Party of Virginia, and I will do it, and I can do it with a text message. So, be there, or else face the consequences because I'm sick and tired of this crap. I will be a candidate either way but I want you to come to this meeting so it will be squared away or else like I said there will be dramatic consequences that you do not want to see. Thanks, and you know the number. Great, bye.”
The voicemail, played in its entirety at the EDC hearing, can be listened to on the Student Government's website here.
According to an EDC document, DeMatteo said in a text message concerning Colorado's presence at the hearing:
“U know if the shoe was on the other foot I would have called u to discuss b4 I filed anything. U know how heat of the moment those debates r and I have support from both parties. It's politics Kristie. U should know that. There's an old saying: if u can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. I suggest u thicken ur skin if u want to go into politics 4 a career. And to think, I thought u weren't that much of a b-tch after all. Guessed wrong on that.”
Colorado replied to DeMatteo to the April 5 e-mail via text message, asking “Did you really talk to Susan Falconer, Anthony Bedell and Gary Byler about me? [members of the Fairfax and Virginia Beach GOP]”
DeMatteo replied via text message “...Drop your grievance or I'll take it to Pat or just maybe my friend Steve Hunt. U r playing with fire Kristie. Don't end up burned,” DeMatteo said in a text message according to an EDC document.
Another text said:
“Look, here's the deal. We both are very headstrong and have promising futures. No BS types of the world. I want to not have these snafus and focus on 2012 and USMC, u want to do politics and rowing, etc. So avoid the controversy and save urself some misery. I won't do anything to hurt you politically but u haven't met my staff. They won't guess it. Drop this and we move on. Don't and u will be run out of Mason uni life on a rail. Choice is urs,” according to an EDC document.
Connect2Mason reached out to Colorado, DeMatteo and Lillie. A personal statement from Colorado, received April 6, can be viewed here. A letter of comment from DeMatteo, received early April 10, can be downloaded here.
DeMatteo's runningmate, Lillie, declined to comment.
The EDC document pertaining to the grievance concerning DeMatteo's endorsement by the GMU College Republicans can be found here. The EDC document pertaining to the grievance regarding the communication between DeMatteo and Colorado can be found here.
Comments and Statements
7:30 p.m., April 6: The source of the audio recording of the voicemail was clarified to be hosted on the Student Government website.
8:30 p.m., April 6: The audio was clarified to be a recording of the voicemail, played at the second hearing.
9 p.m. April 6: A statement from Colorado was uploaded.
8:10 p.m., April 10: A statement from DeMatteo was uploaded. Lillie declined to comment.