BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — As candidates round the corner on the final leg of this election, getting voters to the polls is a top priority.
But, for many politicians, recent acts of political violence are in the back of their minds.
“I think it’s political terrorism. Anything that tries to influence an election should be treated that way,” said Melissa Hartman, Democratic candidate for Erie County Clerk.
The Democratic candidate said acts of political violence are terrifying.
In late March a partial pipe bomb was thrown into her Eden home, with a message.
“One of which stated that if I didn’t drop out of the Erie County Clerk’s race, that the next pipe bomb would be real,” Hartman told News 4.
Hartman, who’s been the Town of Eden supervisor for seven years, said acts of retaliation never crossed her mind when getting in on the clerk’s race.
Her opponent, incumbent Michael Kearns said political differences are never a reason for violence.
“There were always implied threats to people. But, unfortunately, it’s gone from threats to actual violence. We’ve seen people being shot at, we’ve seen home invasions,” added Kearns.
Late last week the husband of United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suffered a fractured skull and other injuries when an intruder attacked him inside their San Francisco home.
Candidate for New York governor Lee Zeldin was attacked at a campaign event over the summer.
“We need to come together,” Kearns said. “There needs to be a coalescing of our country, a healing. And let’s get back to discussing the issues, having good debate and really working together to make sure we are the United States of America.”
Both candidates said at the end of the day people should have respect for one another and no one should feel intimidated to run for public office.
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Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.