'Insensitive' remarks prompt Dorsey to end Assembly campaign

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Jim Leute
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

JANESVILLE—The Republican candidate who apologized last week for a “hurtful" Twitter comment about gays admitted Tuesday he had posted other derogatory comments and dropped out of the 44th Assembly District race.

When asked Tuesday about newly discovered comments on social media, Jacob Dorsey told The Gazette he was ending his campaign against Rep. Deb Kolste, D-Janesville.

Dorsey's name, however, will remain on the ballot for the Nov. 4 election.

Last week, the 19-year-old Dorsey apologized for a comment about gays he admitted was “hurtful" and had posted in December on Twitter.

Tuesday, he acknowledged other inappropriate posts to social media sites.

In comments made on various YouTube videos, Dorsey used derogatory terms in reference to blacks and homosexuals.

He also used a vulgarity as a verb ahead of Abraham Lincoln, the nation's first Republican president.

His YouTube comments were made between a year and two years ago, well before he entered the Assembly race in May.

Dorsey said Tuesday he regrets the comments made by a child he no longer considers himself to be.

“I have decided to withdraw from the race due to insensitive remarks that have surfaced from years past,” Dorsey said in a statement to The Gazette. “This race has been extremely hard on my family and myself.”

Dorsey said he now plans to pursue a college degree. He had taken this semester off from his studies at Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho, to run his campaign.

Dorsey concluded his statement by thanking his supporters.

His most recent campaign finance report filed with the state showed he had raised about $1,950 and spent about $830.

More than 75 percent of his contributions came from three sources.

The Republican Party of Wisconsin, the Republican Party of Rock County and Friends of Joe Knilans each donated $500 to Dorsey's campaign.

Knilans held the local Assembly seat until Kolste defeated him in 2012. The district covers most of Janesville.

When contacted by The Gazette on Tuesday, the county party said it strongly rejects Dorsey's social media comments.

“His comments have no place in our political discourse,” the local party said in a statement. “The party was unaware of his comments when he announced his candidacy in May and when it provided a financial contribution to his campaign.

“The party has withdrawn all support for Mr. Dorsey and has requested a return of the financial contribution.”

Kolste said she finds Janesville to be a diverse community that needs leaders who will celebrate that.

“My goal has always been to do whatever I can for the whole community,” Kolste said in a statement to The Gazette. “I want to help individuals in the community and Janesville, as a whole, find greater success in any way that I can.

“I will continue to work toward that goal.”

The Gazette was not able to reach Knilans for a comment Tuesday.

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