The Lakeville elementary school teacher, mom, and Democrat is gunning for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives currently occupied by Rep. Jon Koznick (R-Lakeville), a three-term incumbent who won each of his previous races comfortably, as the Star Tribune reports.
Prior to running, Preese was a state chapter leader with Moms Demand Action, a grassroots gun control advocacy group, and the push for background checks, red flag laws, and safe storage laws is a central theme of her platform for office.
Peruse replies to Preese’s Twitter feed, and you'll find a lot of snarky discourse on that subject alone. Back in November, she posted a photo of herself and some Moms Demand Action members, and the comments in response were harsh.
“Beware the knives behind the smiles,” one person wrote enigmatically. “They’ll try to cut your heart out and steal your guns.”
Even that person's confused gun/knife analogy had more substance than the feedback Preese got on December 1, after announcing her candidacy on Twitter, and one guy saw fit to weigh in with this:
Your boobs are saggy....— M~Britton...is (@thetigertwitur) December 1, 2019
Preese says friends had warned her people could get downright nasty online. At first, she brushed it off.
“I’ve had people make threats toward me online before,” she says. Attacks have only heightened since she shifted from activism to campaigning. She’s not given to responding to “trolls," but this one crossed a line.
She screenshotted the comment and posted it for everyone to see on Sunday.
When women run for public office... pic.twitter.com/9fHkGZeell— Erin Preese (@e_preese) December 8, 2019
The reaction was pretty sizable, with almost 150 comments and nearly 2,500 likes—and “almost overwhelmingly positive.” If the comment section critic’s intent was to diminish Preese, that's backfiring splendidly.
“Earned my follow,” one commenter said. “Sorry you have to suffer this ignorance and harassment.”
Preese even indulged in a little fun by thanking her followers for "*support*" (emphasis hers) the next day. By now, she’s moved on, with candidate training and door-knocking to take care of as she focuses on securing the DFL nomination and challenging Koznick.
“I’m willing to talk about policy issues,” Preese says. “Not about my body.”