RACINE — The Racine branch of the NAACP this week called out a Racine aldermanic candidate for racist remarks that were reportedly sent from her cell phone in early February.
On Wednesday, less than two weeks before the April 2 election, the NAACP issued a statement condemning Feb. 9 text messages allegedly sent from a cell phone Seaman said she owns. The phone number that appeared to have sent the texts also appeared on Seaman’s campaign materials.
Journal Times reporters have repeatedly tried to contact Seaman since the comments were brought to light, but have not been able to reach her at her home, work or on her cell phones, which appear to have been deactivated.
Seaman is facing Natalia Taft, an University of Wisconsin-Parkside assistant professor, on the April 2 ballot. Mark Balcer, who was eliminated from the ballot in February’s primary election, has registered as a write-in candidate; that means election officials will have to tally write-in votes cast for him.
The recipient of the Feb. 9 text messages, who is black, posted screenshots of racist comments and a racial slur that appeared to have been sent from the phone number Seaman printed on her campaign materials. In Facebook comments, Seaman claimed that the texts had been sent by her friend’s daughter, although it has not been confirmed who actually sent the texts.
“Ms. Seaman’s alleged racial comments certainly have no place in our society. The Racine Branch NAACP opposes any candidate running for a public office in the city of Racine or Racine County, who shows racial intolerance in their actions,” the statement, signed by NAACP Racine Branch President George Nicks Sr., reads.
The statement continues: “We have worked hard over the years to help make equality and social justice a reality in Racine and the nation as a whole. However, it seems that as we try to move forward in a positive way, there is something or someone that tries to take us back to the ‘50s and ‘60s. We, the Racine Branch NAACP, will not be turned around and will continue our fight for social justice and equality at all levels.
“We can and must do better!”
In addition to the alleged racially charged texts, a complaint was reportedly filed against Seaman for other texts that came from the same phone number
On Feb. 2, someone who identified their self as “Breanna” sent a mass text message to voters in the 13th District, encouraging them to vote for Seaman.
Beth Pramme, who is a friend of Taft’s, responded to the text. As a result of the ensuing conversation, Pramme accused the sender of the text of sending inaccurate information regarding how the phone numbers of 13th District voters were acquired by Seaman’s campaign.
After doing a “reverse search of the phone number,” Pramme said she found that the number was registered to Seaman. It was the same phone number that allegedly sent the racist texts one week later.
Pramme said she filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Ethics Commission on Feb. 15.
The complaint states, “I can confirm respondent (Seaman) is the likely owner of the phone number, that all messages were sent by respondent, using a pseudonym to conceal her true identity and commit multiple violations.”
The Ethics Commission is unable to share any information with the public about an investigation until one of the following occurs:
- The commission files a civil complaint.
- The commission refers the matter to a prosecutor/district attorney.
- The commission finds that “a complaint does not raise a reasonable suspicion that a violation of the law has occurred.”
- The commission finds that “no probable cause exists” regarding whether a law was broken.
The Commission cannot even confirm if a complaint has been received at this time.
“I don’t have anything that I can disclose,” Dan Carlton, the Ethics Commission’s administrator, told The Journal Times this week.