GLEN ALLEN, VA (WWBT) - One day after a message saying “Rot in Hell” was left on a campaign flyer at Dave Brat’s house, his opponent is apologizing.
Brat, who is a Republican running for re-election in the 7th U.S. House District, posted on Facebook on Sunday that the message was left “by an Abigail Spanberger canvasser” at his house.
“We take this matter very seriously and have referred it to authorities," the post said.
On Monday afternoon, Spanberger, issued a statement that said “we questioned the volunteers who had been canvassing in the area and discovered that four high school students were involved in this incident."
Police also confirmed Monday that juveniles were involved in the incident.
“This type of behavior is completely unacceptable and beneath the dignity of this race, and we have already notified these students that they are not welcome to volunteer with our campaign again,” her campaign said. “We apologize to Mr. Brat and his family. As someone whose personal, confidential information has already been compromised in the course of this campaign, Abigail believes that politics should never threaten the safety and security of any candidate, their family, or their staff."
In a situation like this when a candidate is attacked, does exposing it help the campaign?
"If Spanberger had not come out and immediately disavowed it and said ‘these kids can’t do this, they worked for us, we’re not going to do this anymore.’ If she had not done that, I think you would have seen it as a political ad, some part of ‘Spanberger’s campaign did this’ but in owning up to it…I think she actually dis-empowers the ability for the Brat campaign to make much mileage out of it,” NBC 12 political analyst Dedire Conditt said.
In fact, Spanberger pointed to a post made on Brat’s social media account. Someone wrote “Take out the terrorist trainer. She’s another deep stater.” There’s no evidence that Brat’s camp had anything to do with the post.
"That's kind of unfortunately a part of American politics. We’re pretty aggressive,” Conditt said.
Monday, Spanberger suggested her opponent pulled out of a Richmond debate scheduled for October 25th. Brat’s camp said that claim was only made to distract you from what it calls “harassment” related to the “Rot in Hell” statement.
“We were in the midst of negotiating the second two debates with the Spanberger campaign,” Brat’s base said.
These developments are surfacing as we approach election day next month.
"It’s going to get tighter and tenser. This will be just one more stop in a train going to where we don’t know where it’s going to land,” Conditt added.
The two candidates are still scheduled to debate on October 15 in Culpeper.