EGG HARBOR CITY — Social media posts by a Democrat candidate for City Council have come under scrutiny, with opponents calling them racist and transphobic.
Reed B. Cramer Sr., 41, is a fabricator/welder who is running on a ticket with 40-plus-year incumbent Councilman Edward Dennis and Councilman Mason Wright. Cramer also is co-founder and chairman of the Egg Harbor City Neighborhood Watch, a graduate of Absegami High School and a U.S. Navy veteran.
Dennis declined to comment. Wright did not return a request for comment.
“While some of my posts have been more controversial than others, I will not apologize for saying how I feel,” Cramer said Saturday. “My Facebook page has been and will always be public because I have nothing to hide.”
“I apologize if I’ve hurt people’s feelings, but that’s about as far as it goes,” he added.
At issue are a pair of Facebook posts Cramer made last year.
“Dear Transgender Community,” Cramer wrote June 9, 2017. “Thank you for taking it upon yourselves to effectively sterilizing (sic) yourselves, thereby preventing you from reproducing.”
Later in the same post: “On a side note, and I’ll probably be revisiting these topics in the future, LBGTQ ... RSTLN ... can I buy a vowel?” he wrote. “If (expletive) Shameless feels the need to explore all the variations of your society, you know you’re (expletive) up. Just sayin.”
On Aug. 23, 2017, he shared a post from another account that said, “I’m proud to be white. I bet no one passes this on because they are scared of (sic) be called a racist.”
In recent posts, Cramer said someone has selectively publicized his posts in an effort to humiliate him.
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He said he doesn’t plan to delete the posts and doesn’t believe they’re racist or transphobic, just controversial.
“This is an intentional attempt to try to discredit me and smear my character,” he said.
Atlantic County Democrats Chairman Michael Suleiman and Vice Chairwoman Audrey Miles condemned Cramer’s posts in a statement Friday:
“We are shocked and appalled by the social media posts that have been attributed to Mr. Cramer. Hate and intolerance have no place in our society and no place in the Democratic Party. If Mr. Cramer wins his election on Tuesday, he should do the right thing and vacate his seat so that the Egg Harbor City Democrats may appoint someone else to serve on City Council.”
Running against the Democrats are Republican incumbent Councilman Angelo Lello; Robin Sefton, who runs Capt. Howard’s Bait and Tackle Shop in town with her husband, Howard Sefton; and Pleasantville firefighter Joseph Anthony Ricci.
“What I’ve learned being on council and being in politics is you’ve got to be careful what you put out there,” Lello said during a phone interview Saturday morning.
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Lello said he hasn’t looked into Cramer’s posts, but if they are racist and transphobic, then he doesn’t “think there’s a place for that in today’s society.”
Cramer said he’s not a “polished politician” and is just interested in helping Egg Harbor City.
“We’ll see how people feel on Tuesday,” Cramer said. “If they can’t see past my past and see what I’ve been doing for the last year in the city, that’s unfortunate.”
Staff Writer Ahmad Austin contributed to this report.