Grand Forks legislator fights Medora Musical bear on Twitter over speed limit bill
Since the beginning of the North Dakota legislative session, state Rep. Jake Blum has said a "more absurd and interesting story" has been unfolding in the Twittersphere: a feud between the legislator and a fictional bear.Blum, a Republican from G...
Since the beginning of the North Dakota legislative session, state Rep. Jake Blum has said a “more absurd and interesting story” has been unfolding in the Twittersphere: a feud between the legislator and a fictional bear.
Blum, a Republican from Grand Forks, has been engaged in a feud over social media with a parody account representing none other than Sheriff Bear of the Medora Musical.
@SheriffBear, an account that has been active since October, describes itself as “Bear Sheriff of the Medora Musical since 1965,” a “Champion of Justice” and “Fighter of ‘JB’” for Jake Blum.
“The account is pretty closely followed by folks around the capital, and for whatever reason, the account chose to single me out as its main rival,” Blum said Thursday. “Which is to most of my entertainment, honestly, so I kind of embraced it.”
The feud most visibly began Jan. 10, when the Sheriff Bear account retweeted a post from Blum on the legislator’s bill to increase speed limits on multi-lane highways in North Dakota.
“Sheriff Bear has many concerns with how this bill would (affect) the public safety of our citizens,” the account tweeted.
Blum replied, calling the account a “subpar bear sheriff” that should “stick to the Musical.”
Several tweets followed with insults, retorts and even an image of basketball player Tracy McGrady dunking over Shawn Bradley, with Sheriff Bear’s and Blum’s faces photoshopped over the respective players’ faces.
Legislative update for the day: #NDPol #NDLeg #JB pic.twitter.com/LQ0RbdLpMJ - Sheriff Bear (@SheriffBear) January 14, 2019
On Wednesday, Blum and someone in a Sheriff Bear costume met at the Heritage Center in Bismarck for a “peace summit,” facilitated by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.
Following today’s Peace Summit, I took some time to educate @RealJakeBlum on one topic we share common interest: supporting our state’s hardworking farmers #Agriculture pic.twitter.com/74AtxIvd1s - Sheriff Bear (@SheriffBear) January 24, 2019
The foundation’s marketing and communications director, Justin Fisk, said he heard about the feud earlier last week.
“We got a call from one of our supporters out east who said ‘You’ve got to check this out,’” Fisk said. “We thought it was really cool, what Jake and Sheriff Bear were doing, and we wanted to make things a little better and bring them together, which I think a lot of our country could use, these days.”
The person running the Sheriff Bear parody account, declined to provide an identity Thursday afternoon. Fisk said the account itself was not the foundation’s.
“I think whoever is behind the Sheriff Bear twitter account clearly has a lot of love for Medora and the entire state of North Dakota, as well as a heck of a sense of humor,” Blum said.
In addition to relieving some of the tension people may have at the Capitol, Blum said he also hopes the publicity will shine a little extra attention on Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
“I mean, it’s nice to have sort of more discussion amongst opposing parties,” Fisk said. “And even though this is a little bit of a fun, quirky play on that, I think it does show some encouragement on that to show you can still disagree about things and work together to get things done.”
I am pleased to announce that @SheriffBear and I have held our first Peace Summit to discuss our many differences. Hopefully we will continue our conversation and give peace a chance. #BlumBearSummit #NDPol pic.twitter.com/C7YebUT9EC - Jake Blum (@RealJakeBlum) January 23, 2019