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The threat of political violence looms over this election

Elected officials are speaking more candidly about threats as security increases
political violence
Posted at 1:47 PM, Sep 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-09 14:47:30-04

WASHINGTON — The reality is political violence is a real threat facing our country.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued bulletins and so has the FBI. Examples have even emerged in recent weeks of the threats officials of both political parties are facing.

This summer, after the Supreme Court decision on abortion, a man was arrested with a gun and charged with attempting to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh near the justice's home.

In July, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY) was attacked by a man at a political rally.

This past week, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal revealed to the Washington Post that an armed man yelled outside her home in Seattle for over an hour.

Also, there was the FBI raid at former President Donald Trump's residence at Mar-a-lago, and the FBI office in Cincinnati was attacked by a Navy veteran, who police say had extremist ties.

On Capitol Hill in 2017, there were around 3,900 threats against members of Congress, according to Capitol Police records.

Last year, there were over 9,600.

OPENING UP

One Member of Congress has been especially forthcoming about the threats he is facing. Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), one of only two Republicans on the January 6th committee, posted on Twitter audio of some of the threatening voicemails his office has received.

"I pray that it be God's will that you suffer," one caller said.

"We know where you live," another called threatened.

INCREASED SECURITY

Those threats, as well as others, have resulted in taxpayers footing the bill for more security for members of Congress. Typically, only those in senior leadership positions, like the Speaker of the House or the minority leader, are given protection.

In recent weeks, security officials at the capitol have approved $10,000 worth of security upgrades for the homes of members of Congress to pay for things like new alarms, doors or lighting.

ISSUE FOR VOTERS

Voters are beginning to take these threats seriously and some recent polls are showing the threat of political violence driving some voters this election.

In fact, a CBS/Yougov poll from late August shows that 64% of Americans believe political violence will increase from here.

In January of 2021, after the January 6th attack, only 51% of Americans thought that.

A recent NBC poll identified the threat of political violence as a driving force among voters this election.