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Democrats facing tough races receive suspicious packages after impeachment vote

Packages sent from National Republican Congressional Committee prompted Capitol Police to investigate

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., was one of several Democrats who were sent a suspicious package by the NRCC Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Several House Democrats in battleground districts complained Thursday that a political stunt by Republicans intended to warn them they would not be in office long because of impeachment instead ended up wasting the time of Capitol Police after aides complained of receiving suspicious packages.

The National Republican Congressional Committee sent packing boxes to the Capitol Hill offices of the Democrats, most of whom flipped Republican districts in 2018 and are expected to have competitive campaigns to keep them next year.

A package addressed to Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton from the NRCC said “Get Packing!”  Other recipients included Reps. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania.

Some congressional staffers, despite seeing they were from the NRCC, were still wary of the packages and contacted police, as they are trained to do with suspicious packages.

The NRCC, responding to a Huffington Post reporter’s tweet of an NRCC package at Lamb’s office, tweeted: “We know Democrats love investigations but why are they looking a gift horse in the mouth? These boxes will be useful next November!”

The stunt was supposed to warn the Democrats of the blowback the NRCC expects them to face for voting mostly along partisan lines Thursday to proceed further into a formal impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump.

Reps. Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey were the only Democrats who voted against the measure. Michigan Independent Justin Amash voted with the Democrats; no Republicans voted for it.

Wexton called it “irresponsible” and “reckless” for the NRCC, the campaign arm of the GOP conference, “to leave suspicious packages for Members of Congress.”  

After an investigation by Capitol police, spokeswoman Eva Malecki said, “The incident has been cleared.”

Spanberger said the NRCC’s act was a waste of law enforcement’s resources. 

For 2020, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Wexton’s race as Solid Democratic, Lamb’s as Likely Democratic and Spanberger’s Tilt Democratic.

Katie Porter, a California Democrat, also criticized the NRCC for “sending suspicious-looking packages.”

The NRCC’s counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, offered to fill the boxes with food for a Thanksgiving charity drive in a statement that referred to NRCC staff being questioned by the Capitol Police.

 

“If and when Capitol Police releases the NRCC staff, please ask them to bring those boxes over to our building,” the DCCC said. “We’d be happy to use those boxes so that our staff can run a Thanksgiving food drive and turn your hilarious prank into a force for good.”

 

NRCC spokesman Bob Salera responded with the same comment that the committee earlier sent out on Twitter that the boxes will come in handy next November. 

 

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