Missoula GOP chair responds to incident involving mayoral candidate Elder

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Through a lawyer, Missoula County Republican Party chairperson Vondene Kopeski released a statement Thursday about an Aug. 27 interaction with mayoral candidate Jacob Elder.

The incident resulted in a 911 call and police response. In the 911 call obtained by the Missoulian, Elder is heard accusing Kopeski of stealing campaign signs.

Kopeski says that is not true.

“Mr. Elder’s claims that Mrs. Kopeski had taken his campaign signs is without merit and completely false,” the statement said. “Any further intimidating acts toward Mrs. Kopeski by Mr. Elder will not be tolerated.”

The Aug. 27 incident had its roots in an Aug. 20 Republican Pachyderm Club meeting that Elder attended, the statement said.

“At the meeting, Mrs. Kopeski had just announced that the Republican party would be supporting Independent candidate for mayor, Shawn Knopp,” the statement said. “Mr. Elder then disrupted the meeting with an outburst that involved yelling unfounded accusations at Mrs. Kopeski yelling twice that she was ‘a liar.’ Jim Royan, the president of Pachyderm, was visibly shaken as were others. Mrs. Kopeski was also left shaken. Prior to this, she had never spoken to Mr. Elder nor had she met him.”

The attendees were surprised that Elder came to the meeting because

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