Democrats Are Dropping Out Of Elections Because They’re Being Threatened
Twice in the last two months, Democratic candidates have ended their campaigns for public office after allegedly receiving threats to their safety. This happened first in an upstate New York mayoral race in April, then again in an Iowa congressional race this June. As a result, the Republican candidates in those races are now running unopposed, and neither the national Republican Party nor the GOP candidates in question have denounced these reported threats.
Michael Treiman, the Democratic candidate for mayor of Binghampton, New York, announced in April that he was withdrawing his candidacy, citing threats against his family and one alleged physical confrontation with those who opposed his candidacy. Treiman told Syracuse.com that, shortly after giving a radio interview about his campaign, he received threatening messages targeting his wife and children. Shortly thereafter, Treiman says, a man threw a full soda container at him while he was with one of his children. According to Treiman, the man shouted "liberal scumbag" at him as he threw the soda at them; Treiman turned his back to shield his child, and the container hit him.
Two months after that, the Democrat running against Rep. Steve King in Iowa announced that she, too, was ending her campaign after having received threats to her personal safety. Kim Weaver wrote on Facebook that since launching her campaign, she had "received very alarming acts of intimidation, including death threats," adding that "while some may say enduring threats are just a part of running for office, my personal safety has increasingly become a concern."
I wanted #KimWeaver IN the race-not out. Democrats drove her out of the race-not R's. Death threats likely didn't happen but a fabrication.— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) June 4, 2017
Neither the Republican National Committee nor the two Republican candidates have condemned these threats. King reacted on Twitter by asserting that "Democrats drove [Weaver] out of the race," and that the death threats "likely didn't happen but [were] a fabrication." Bustle has reached out to Binghampton Mayor Rich David, Treiman's former opponent in the mayoral race, as well as the RNC, for comment.
These are only the most recent examples of citizens resorting to threats or violence in an attempt to affect political change. On Wednesday, an alleged former volunteer for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign opened fire at a congressional basketball game, injuring GOP Rep. Steve Scalise. During the 2016 campaign, a supporter of Donald Trump was videotaped sucker-punching a protester, and several supporters of Trump have been charged with assault for allegedly attacking anti-Trump demonstrators.
New York and Iowa Democrats haven't yet found a replacement candidate in their respective races, so it's possible that as a result of these developments, there will be no Democratic candidate for either the Binghamptom mayorship or Iowa's fourth congressional district in November 2018.