KANSAS CITY, Mo. – In the article published late Tuesday night about the controversy in the race between Republican Sen. Ryan Silvey and Democratic challenger J. Ranen Bechthold, both candidates submitted identical versions of a Facebook message exchange that highlights what happened after Bechthold went to Silvey’s home, allegedly while Bechthold was canvassing in the area.
Bechthold first shared them with the Missouri Times first to establish his belief that they discredited Silvey’s claims that he felt uncomfortable or fearful around Silvey. Silvey submitted screenshots of the online conversation after Bechthold only to verify their authenticity.
We have decided to share the messages with the public, unedited and unabridged with only one redaction and some added context for the messages.
Josiah Bechthold, Aug. 31, 6:09 p.m.
Senator Silvey, I mentioned last week I would like to sit down together privately. Would you take me up on the offer? My number is [redacted]. Respectfully, J Bechthold.
After this message, the two did not correspond for just over a week. The following exchanges happened on Sept. 8, from 4:45 p.m. to 7:05 p.m.
Ryan Silvey, 4:45 p.m.
Angela told me you came by the house last night. I’ve talked to my attorneys and would be happy to meet with you in the conference room at Axiom strategies in Briarcliff or the community conference room next door. They have offered it and it is a nice meeting space. As it is still highly unusual for 2 candidates to meet during a campaign and with pending litigation, I would want to have a witness to the conversation and would not object to you having a witness as well. I want this meeting to be as comfortable and professional as possible. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks.
Josiah Bechthold, 5:15 p.m.
Yes, it is unusual. But the topic I want to discuss with you is not litigation, not politics but the very important matter of your personal faith. Would you call yourself a righteous man?
Ryan Silvey, 5:21 p.m.
Romans 3:10 says there are none that are righteous. My personal faith is in grace through Jesus.
Josiah Bechthold, 6:05 p.m.
Yes, no man is truly righteous, but you are a man of God. Despite you your failings he will still use you to further his plan. He put you in your current position. I want to ask you how are using your station in life to bring the kingdom of God to earth. [smiley emoticon] I want to meet with you as a constituent and as two brothers of the same father in heaven, not as your political opponent. So perhaps after this litigation is over. I don’t sense the presence of the Lord at Axiom. But I will be in touch. God bless.
Ryan Silvey, 6:13 p.m.
While I appreciate your sentiment, I must admit it is a little hard to trust your intentions when all of your campaign material alludes that I am a “crook” and you have point blank called me a “cowardly politician.” Let me know if you should change your mind about meeting.
Josiah Bechthold, 7:05 p.m.
You are not personally a crook. My materials are alluding to corporate corruption of government and the lack of Christian compassion. The Lobbyists are who I have in mind. I know you don’t like my Slay the Giant motto but it’s not referring to you personally. But if you beat me, I’m gonna have to rely on you to slay those Giants. But I will stand by the cowardly politicians comment. I meant exactly that. You won’t meet with me on a personal level man to man. But this legal matter made me realize that you are personally hurt by this. Politics is a game (unlike war) and you are certainly playing it very aggressively with your dog calling me a lying person and challenging my integrity. That was wrong what you had him say. I spoke the truth but I realize that politics is sometimes a silly game. I don’t hold it against you or anyone. I had this impression that you are a mentally tough opponent. Perhaps I was wrong. I don’t want you to be personally hurt. Thanks for Facebooking with me. I think I have a better understanding of you now.
Here the correspondence ends.