The Minnesota Democratic Party has suspended a spokesman for calling for violence against Republicans even as two GOP candidates have been assaulted in suspected politically motivated attacks.
The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has suspended communications staffer William Davis for one week without pay after making a Facebook post joking that Democrats would “bring [Republicans] to the guillotine” on Nov. 7, the day after the midterm elections. Minnesota Republican Party chairman Jennifer Carnahan said the suspension was not enough, calling for his immediate firing in the aftermath of separate attacks against Republican candidates. She said she has been subjected to numerous death threats during her tenure as the state party leader and that death threats are no laughing matter.
“The overt hatred and violence that has become prevalent from many Democrats towards Republicans in recent times is unlawful, unacceptable, and downright scary,” she said in an email. “Yes, we have free speech and the right to peacefully assemble, but these words and actions by the left have gone too far. … He should have been terminated immediately.”
DFL officials did not respond to request for comment.
The suspension came days after Minnesota state representative Sarah Anderson was punched in the arm after spotting a man destroying Republican yard signs. She said the attack left her scared, and her attacker only desisted when she fled to her car and threw it in reverse.
“It was just insane. He was charging at me, saying, ‘Why don’t you go kill yourself?'” Anderson told the Washington Free Beacon. “To have someone physically coming after you and attacking you is just disheartening.”
The Plymouth Police Department investigation into Rep. Anderson’s alleged assault remains ongoing. A spokeswoman confirmed the department had identified a suspect, but declined further comment.
Anderson was not the only GOP candidate attacked. First-time state representative candidate Shane Mekeland suffered a concussion after getting sucker punched while speaking with constituents at a restaurant in Benton County. Mekeland told the Free Beacon he has suffered memory loss—forgetting Rep. Anderson’s name at one point in the interview—and doctors tell him he will have a four-to-six week recovery time ahead of him. He said he was cold cocked while sitting at a high top table at a local eatery and hit his head on the floor.
“I was so overtaken by surprise and shock and if this is the new norm, this is not what I signed up for,” he said.
Benton County Sheriff Troy Heck told the Free Beacon that his department has interviewed the alleged assailant. Investigators are awaiting medical records about the extent of Mekeland’s injuries before referring the case to the local district attorney’s office. He expects those results to come in the next week.
Mekeland said he was disappointed that he had not seen Democrats condemn the attack against him, but was floored to see the party take such a light approach to Davis’s comments.
“He’s a political staffer so you’d think if anybody should know boundaries, I think that’d be it,” he said.
Anderson was equally harsh about the DFL’s response, calling it “incredibly irresponsible.”
“This is exactly what incites people to violence. … It’s why you have somebody who goes and attacks me on Sunday just because we have different political beliefs,” she said.
The alleged assaults have both candidates weighing changes in their approach to campaigning in closing days of the race. Mekeland was unable to leave the house to knock on doors due to his sensitivity to sunlight on Tuesday. He said he and his volunteers will only travel in pairs for the rest of the campaign to ensure they are not alone during such visits, which will limit the ground they cover. Anderson said she has gotten offers from her husband and other volunteers to escort her around the district. She pledged to keep knocking on doors until Election Day.
“I refuse to be bullied and intimidated,” she said. “You can’t let this stop you from reaching out and talking to voters.”
Not only are Republicans subject to physical violence. The Bangor Daily News reports:
A threatening letter sent to the home of Republican Sen. Susan Collins that claimed to contain deadly ricin specifically mentioned her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, her husband said.
Thomas Daffron, who opened the letter Monday, said the writer claimed the letter was tainted with ricin residue.
Collins, who was in Washington at the time, told WABI-TV that she learned of the letter in photos sent from her husband. Daffron and the couple’s Labrador retriever, Pepper, were both quarantined for a time. …
Collins and her staff have been subjected to threats over her decision to back Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.
“I will not live in fear. I will not be intimidated. I’m going to continue to do what I think is right for the people of the state whom I work very hard for, and for our nation,” she said.
Earlier this month, Kelley Paul, wife of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R–Kentucky), wrote for CNN …
An open letter to Senator Cory Booker:
It’s nine o’clock at night, and as I watch out the window, a sheriff’s car slowly drives past my home. I am grateful that they have offered to do extra patrols, as someone just posted our home address, and Rand’s cell number, on the internet — all part of a broader effort to intimidate and threaten Republican members of Congress and their families. I now keep a loaded gun by my bed. Our security systems have had to be expanded. I have never felt this way in my life
In the last 18 months, our family has experienced violence and threats of violence at a horrifying level. I will never forget the morning of the shooting at the congressional baseball practice, the pure relief and gratitude that flooded me when I realized that Rand was okay.
He was not okay last November, when a violent and unstable man attacked him from behind while he was working in our yard, breaking six ribs and leaving him with lung damage and multiple bouts of pneumonia. Kentucky’s secretary of state, Alison Lundergan Grimes, recently joked about it in a speech. MSNBC commentator Kasie Hunt laughingly said on air that Rand’s assault was one of her “favorite stories.” Cher, Bette Midler, and others have lauded his attacker on Twitter. I hope that these women never have to watch someone they love struggle to move or even breathe for months on end.Earlier this week, Rand was besieged in the airport by activists “getting up in his face,” as you, Senator Booker, encouraged them to do a few months ago. Preventing someone from moving forward, thrusting your middle finger in their face, screaming vitriol — is this the way to express concern or enact change? Or does it only incite unstable people to violence, making them feel that assaulting a person is somehow politically justifiable?
Senator Booker, Rand has worked with you to co-sponsor criminal justice reform bills. He respects you, and so do I. I would call on you to retract your statement. I would call on you to condemn violence, the leaking of elected officials’ personal addresses (our address was leaked from a Senate directory given only to senators), and the intimidation and threats that are being hurled at them and their families.
Donald Trump will naturally be blamed for this. But how many Democrats have been assaulted or threatened by Republicans based on Trump’s words or any other motivation? Were any Democrats shot by a disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporter last year? Were any Minnesota Democrats punched in the head?
So where does this go next? Someone — a candidate, a volunteer for a candidate, a supporter or an opponent of any of the three — is going to get killed next. Election Day is in 19 days.