Four Virginia teenagers were caught on camera lurking around Rep. Dave Brat’s home in the Richmond suburbs, where they left a note on the front porch that read, “Rot in hell.”
The teens were canvassing for the campaign of Brat’s Democratic challenger in Virginia’s 7th District, Abigail Spanberger.
Spanberger’s campaign manager released a statement denouncing the actions of the four teenage boys, who were featured in a photo on the campaign’s Facebook page earlier that day with the caption: “not old enough to vote but old enough to make a difference.”
When they learned someone had left the note on Brat’s front porch, Spanberger’s campaign questioned the volunteers who had been canvassing in the area and discovered the four high school boys were responsible.
“This type of behavior is completely unacceptable and beneath the dignity of this race,” Dana Bye, Spanberger’s campaign manager, said in a statement apologizing to Brat and his family.
The four boys “are not welcome to volunteer with our campaign again,” Bye said.
Brat’s teenage daughter was home alone when she noticed the four boys stepped onto the property, Brat told WRIC in Virginia. The boys were carrying campaign literature for Spanberger. They looked into windows and took pictures of the house from the driveway. Brat’s daughter captured the incident on her phone.
“This kind of stuff has no place in politics,” Brat told the local TV station. “What mom and dad want their kid to have to go through this stuff?”
Brat called for a freeze to the harsh rhetoric permeating U.S. politics.
“In this toxic environment, we need to ratchet things down and calm it down,” he said. “We do not need people showing up at people’s houses writing ‘rot in hell.’ That’s the opposite of what we need right now in politics.”
Spanberger, a former CIA agent, and Brat, a Tea Party-aligned congressman and one of the most conservative members of Congress, are locked in a pitched battle with some of the tightest polling margins in the country.
President Donald Trump carried the district by 6.5 points in 2016, a margin multiple Democrats have erased in special elections over the last year and a half.
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