By Cameron Rasmusson
Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, said accusations of her supporters harassing Democrats are yet another symptom of an ugly election cycle.
The comments follow claims from the Idaho Democratic Party that they were forced to remove a young field worker from Bonner County for his safety. According to a report filed with the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office, the party employee said Scott supporters stalked and threatened him, following him to the host home and recording his license plate.
“It’s campaign season, and mudslinging appears to be the approach of my opponents,” Scott wrote in an email. “While allegations make great headlines, they are just that: assertions that someone has done something illegal or wrong, made without proof.”
Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler also pushed back against claims that his office did not respond adequately to the complaint. In a harassment complaint follow-up, he said that deputy conduct was within professional bounds. He also defended a criticized observation from the responding deputy that party affiliation is not a protected class by citing the state harassment statue, which says it is illegal to harass someone based on “that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin.”
“[The article that broke the story] in the Bee differs in content from the official reports, and despite the tone of that article, I found my staff acted in a prompt and professional manner,” Wheeler said in a statement.
However, local Democrats aren’t taking the alleged threats lightly. Kate McAlister, Scott’s opponent, called the situation a threat to free and peaceful elections.
“As my opponent seems to be denying that these events have taken place, I find it ironic that her ‘Freedom Score’ from the Idaho Freedom Foundation is so high when her direct or indirect actions in her campaign have stripped me of my freedom from bullying, intimidation and threats,” McAlister said.
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