A race for the Bainbridge Island City Council took a surprise turn Monday after a photograph of council candidate Grayson William Wildsmith wearing a 2016 “Hillary for Prison” sleeveless shirt was posted to Facebook.
The photograph was later shared by others on social media, and a link to the photo was being circulated by Cynthia Bellas, a write-in candidate for the District 4, Central Ward seat.
In an email to the Review, Wildsmith said it was him in the photo, but that he wasn’t a voter for Trump.
“I heard about that Facebook post,” Wildsmith said in an email Monday.
“It is a shame when personal photos are taken out of context,” he added.
Wildsmith said he wore the shirt to a social gathering as a way to get people talking.
The photograph was taken in Spokane before the 2016 election.
“The context was that I was a political science major in college and wore that shirt to a gathering of friends with the hope of stirring discussion about the problems in our government — both Republican and Democrat — and it worked! I firmly believe that more women need to be in leadership positions worldwide. Also, I voted for Hillary,” Wildsmith said.
Wildsmith is a 2019 graduate of Gonzaga University. He is running against incumbent Bainbridge Councilwoman Leslie Schneider.
The photograph was originally posted to Facebook earlier on a private page where access is restricted.
Bellas is the race’s write-in candidate, but Kitsap County elections officials have noted that write-in votes for Bellas will not actually be counted unless the total number of write-in votes could affect the outcome of the election.
Bainbridge council races are non-partisan, and political party affiliations, if any, are not listed on the ballot for council races.