Silicon Valley Democrats are staying vigilant and taking safety precautions in response to a spate of bomb threats targeting Democratic Party officials throughout the country.
Staff at the Santa Clara County Democratic Party headquarters off of Moorpark Avenue in San Jose plan to keep the door locked for the time being. Visitors who want to come in will have to knock and identify themselves to whoever’s inside.
Judy Pipkin, the outreach coordinator for the local party, said they bought a doorbell this morning and will make sure all volunteers go through safety training.
“The main thing is that the Democratic Party does not back down to the fear and hate,” she told San Jose Inside.
In a Facebook post earlier in the day, Pipkin urged fellow Dems to be cautious. “We are sad that it has come to this,” she wrote. “Please be vigilant when canvassing, never give out personal information. I and our volunteer staff will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Please get out and VOTE!! Stop the HATE!!”
The California Democratic Party sent a similar warning. In a letter sent to county chapters, Cal Dem spokesman John Vigna told members to be on high alert in the days leading up to the Nov. 6 election.
“While it’s very unlikely that any of us will receive a threat, it’s important that we all know what to do,” Vigna wrote. “Do you know how to respond? Talk to your local law enforcement representatives now and find out. You and your local police or sheriff should have a plan worked out in advance.”
John Lynch, a volunteer who answered the Dem Party’s office phone today when San Jose Inside called for comment, said the mood was a little tense this morning.
“We printed out materials on identifying suspicious packages,” said Lynch, a U.S. Army veteran who began helping out at the office about a month ago. “Everybody is a little more cautious. I can’t speak for the party, but I think there is some nervousness about their being a copycat kind of thing.”
On Tuesday, the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in Washington D.C. were evacuated in response to a bomb threat. DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in a statement that the party is working with law enforcement on the matter and would allow workers back in the building today.
Suspicious packages with potential explosive devices were sent this week to a slew of other Democratic officials and supporters, including former DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schulz, former president Barack Obama, 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Dem mega-donor George Soros. A similar package was intercepted at CNN’s offices in New York City.
A host of Democratic lawmakers suggested that President Trump’s divisive rhetoric inspired the sender to target party officials. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-San Francisco) said on Twitter that leaders have a duty to ease tensions, not worsen them.
Leaders have a responsibility to calm tensions, not inflame them. I urge everyone to be vigilant in the face of threats and thank all the law enforcement personnel who are protecting government and private sites from attack.
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) October 24, 2018
Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) issued a statement this morning affirming that employees in his D.C. and Santa Clara offices are safe and that no threats there have been reported.
“The congressman condemns violence in any form and supports the efforts of law enforcement to apprehend those responsible, hold them accountable and protect every American citizen from further threats,” Khanna’s communications director, Heather Purcell, wrote in an email.
The White House condemned the attacks and several high-profile Republican representatives denounced them as political violence and acts of terror. But other conservatives dismissed the bomb scares as a hoax.