JONESBORO, Ark. – A candidate for mayor says she is being harassed, having signs stolen, and has even received a phone call threatening to blow up her car, killing her and her children.
Amanda Moffitt Dunavant, 29, of Jonesboro, is one of six vying for the executive position for the city government in the City of Jonesboro. She is the youngest candidate and the only female candidate in the race.
She has also taken a more aggressive tone in her campaign and has maintained a loud voice in the male-dominated race for mayor. In an exclusive interview with NEA Report, she said she thinks this may have made some people feel threatened and decide to take it out on her in an unlawful way.
On Thursday, Dunavant said she received a phone call threatening her and her family’s life.
“They said I’ve been talking too much and if I knew what’s best for me, I’d keep my mouth shut or I could find me and my kids blown up in my vehicle, basically,” Dunavant said. “And he knew what kind of vehicle I drove.”
She said months back, she also received a call stating, “You had better not run.” She said she laughed and hung the phone up.
It is only the tip of the iceberg, she claims. Dunavant also says between 20 and 30 yard signs she paid for with her own money, at $20 each, have been stolen throughout town.
“About a month ago, I was thinking the wind got a hold of them,” Dunavant said. “It started off one or two. Then we found my grandpa’s sign, two miles from his house going toward town in a ditch. Several others have come up missing.”
Those two issues are intended to be a topic of conversation between Dunavant and the Jonesboro Chief of Police Rick Elliott, in a meeting Dunavant said she has requested. She said she intends to file a police report on both matters.
But there are many more incidents, Dunavant described, that paint a dark picture of the reception she has received while seeking office. She said she was shopping at a grocery store when a well-dressed older man came up and began telling her she needed to keep quiet. Dunavant didn’t care for the man’s comment and made him aware of it and she said that was when he spat in her face.
When asked why she didn’t file a report on him, she said it wasn’t her style to make someone pay for the rest of their life for a moment of bad judgement. In that same spirit, she said if elected, she will not take any grievances out, even against those who have done the opposite to her.
She said that includes against city employees who have stopped on the road near her and cursed her out while driving a city-owned vehicle.
“I have had city employees that have harassed me,” Dunavant said. “Not disclosing who. They have at work, while I was out and about in public.”
Dunavant said she has also been on the receiving end of cyberbullying, with a number of people sending her sexually explicit photos and videos on Facebook.
It’s not behavior Hunter Dunavant, Amanda’s husband, appreciates.
“These people doing this, we don’t have any clue who they are,” he said. “We only keep a handful of close friends.”
The second female mayoral candidate in Jonesboro’s history said she also had her Facebook and email accounts hacked.
“Both my private and campaign email have been hacked, and Facebook called me at 1:30 a.m.,” Dunavant said.
She said she had to send a copy of her driver’s license to get her account back because of fakes which were made.
The events have greatly troubled both of the Dunavants.
“What upsets me the most is them coming after my children and my supporters,” Dunavant said. “I can sort of understand me. I pray for them to stop. It’s 2016 and I now know what Dr. Martin Luther King felt. My grandmother was afraid for me to run but I’m not going to live in fear.”
While the descriptions she gave were far from gentlemanly behavior, Dunavant said she would always take the high road and treat people right – even when they didn’t do the same to her.
“Even the city employees, I’m not going to hold it over their head for making a bad judgment call but I want them to consider what they do to other people,” Dunavant said. “I want them to do better and I pray for them to do better.”