The number of candidates targeted by negative messages this election season seems to have increased, according to a Vermont State Police detective. And, the manner in which a death threat was sent to a candidate for the Vermont House of Representatives — through the mail — is the first he’s seen in 13 years with the agency.
Police are investigating a threatening letter sent through the mail to Deserae Morin, a Republican candidate from Colchester, the agency said this weekend.
“It appears that the current environment is just so hostile,” said Sgt. Ben Katz, who is investigating the report. “It’s really sad.”
Morin posted a picture of the letter on Facebook on Saturday. The letter shows words cut out of printed materials that were attached to the piece of paper Morin said she received.
“We are hunting you,” the letter states. “My comrades will kill you and the Constitution.”
The letter also threatens rape against Morin and closes with, “Socialism is here. Open season for Republican death in Vermont.”
In her Facebook post, Morin wrote, “My entire platform consists of protecting individual liberty, ensuring small government, reducing taxes, increasing personal choices and a deep commitment to the Constitution … Apparently these are things that make the Socialists want to kill me.”
Katz said Morin received the letter either Friday or Saturday, and she reported the threat to police Saturday. As of Monday, Katz said there are no significant updates to the investigation, but that police have “no reason to believe it’s not credible.”
Authorities have not yet identified any suspects, Katz said. State police are working with the U.S. Postal Service to determine from where the letter may have come.
Katz said the letter could have come from anywhere, but he believes it likely came from inside the state because some of the word clippings came from Morin’s flyers that she mailed to community members.
While the investigation continues, Katz said state police coordinated with Colchester Police Department to increase patrols in the area near Morin’s home. This will continue for the foreseeable future, Katz said.
Police urge those with information about the threat to contact Katz at 878-7111.
Contact Elizabeth Murray at 651-4835 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @LizMurrayBFP.