SOUTHERN SHORES, N.C. (WAVY) – With election season in full swing candidates are looking for any way to get an edge.
A town council candidate in Southern Shores admitted he created a fake Facebook page to send messages to his opponents.
“I think everybody who lives in this town loves Southern Shores,” said candidate Jim Conners.
Known for its beautiful beaches it’s a small town of 2,700, but here you’ll find big-time politics.
“It’s unusual, but I’ll leave that up to our voters to judge,” added mayoral candidate Gary McDonald.
It all began in mid-summer when a woman on Facebook by the name of “Kristen Rabuf” appeared.
“There was some information that she moved here from South Africa,” said Southern Shores candidate Geri Sullivan.
Kristen quickly became involved in the local political scene. There were constant emails to council candidate Conners. Conners then forwarded those emails to others.
“I sort of ignored them,” Sullivan added. “I thought at the time he was just trying to fire up my troops.”
But something didn’t seem right and it wasn’t. Someone did a Google image search on Kristen’s profile picture and a page full of stock photos popped up.
“My opinion is people just don’t set up imaginary Facebook pages… unless they have a reason for it,” McDonald said.
Conners says it spiraled out of control so he came clean that Kristen was just a giant catfish.
“I will say it’s correct that I don’t apologize, because that was my way of fighting back,” Conners added.
He said he created “Kristen” because he was tired of the abuse coming from others in the town. He planted messages to see who he could and couldn’t trust.
“Whether it was right or wrong, that’s a subject thing that people are going to have to judge,” Conners said.
He says the town is divided and he’s tired of it.
“I asked the question how do you fight back against this type of ugliness and decisiveness,” Conners asked? “That’s the route that I chose.”
But did Conners go too far? We’ll find out on election day.
“I’ll leave it to our citizens to take care of that when they vote on Tuesday,” McDonald said.
“All the [residents] of this town moved here for its ambience and its small town atmosphere,” Conners added.