Threatened election candidates speak out against violence

(NewsNation) — Multiple reports of violence have loomed over this year’s midterm elections, and Richard Ringer and Josh Zygielbaum both say they have experienced the dangers of campaigning in today’s divisive political environment.

In October, someone spray-painted “Your race is dead” on the garage door of Ringer’s home. Later in the month, Ringer awoke early in the morning to what sounded like someone trying to get into his garage. He went outside to investigate, and before he knew it he was engaged in a tussle with an intruder.

“I tackled the guy … and he started pummeling me on the head and on the cheekbone,” Ringer said. “He hit me about 10 times and knocked me out.”

When he came to, Ringer called 911 to report the attack. Despite the violence, he’s not backing out of the race to become Fayette County, Pennsylvania’s next state representative. State police is investigating, local media reported.

Neither is Zygielbaum, who is running for reelection as Adams County Clerk and Recorder in Colorado. Since 2020, he said he’s seen threats and harassment increase, with a steady flow of them almost on a daily basis.

Zygielbaum has reported some of the threats to local police, who recommended to him that he wear a bulletproof vest if he feels the need. A veteran of the Marine Corps, the concept of personal protection isn’t new to Zygielbaum, but he said he never thought he’d be in a situation such as this one after getting out of the service.

“It really drove home for me, personally, what the issues are, but besides those issues, we’re going to move forward with democracy,” Zygielbaum said. “We’re doing it every day.”

The attack against Ringer came three days after Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked in his house. An assailant broke in to their San Francisco home last week and hit Paul Pelosi with a hammer, fracturing his skull.

Pelosi was released from the hospital Thursday. The speaker addressed the attack publicly for the first time Friday, in which she said her husband’s recovery will be a “long haul.”

“It’s just so tragic how it happened,” Pelosi said in a video posted to YouTube. “We have to be optimistic.”