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Virginia State Senator Bill Stanley recently called the cops on the father of a slain reporter who he felt was threatening him via Facebook message. But he thinks his opponent might be overreacting to some recent graffiti on her campaign office: the words “Back off bitch” next to a crudely drawn target. Who knows what that could even mean, right?

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Stanley felt that Andy Parker, father of murdered WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, was endangering him with Facebook messages promising to be his “worst nightmare.” (Parker apologized for the messages, saying he was referring to pushing for increased gun control measures, which Stanley opposes.) Stanley responded by telling the media he and his wife would apply for concealed weapons permits to protect themselves.

Stanley is running for reelection; on Saturday, his opponent Kim Adkins discovered that her campaign office had been vandalized:

The Martinsville Bulletin notes that Adkins is hardly anti-gun, having previously worked for the NRA. But she also recently supported Governor Terry Mcauliffe when he signed an executive order banning guns in most state buildings and giving the Attorney General greater power to prosecute sellers of illegal guns.

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Stanley told the Bulletin that Adkins shouldn’t get too worked up about the graffiti:

“I decry any destruction of property or vandalism, (and) reject any act of threatening a candidate with the courage to run for office … It’s completely unnecessary.”

Stanley wouldn’t comment on what the intended meaning of the message, arguing that it was out of place regardless of the content.

“There’s no way to tell what that person’s intent was or what the reason was,” he said. “Even the symbol itself could mean several things.”

Either way, “It’s a threat to somebody who’s running for office and that’s unacceptable,” he added.

Stanley added that Adkins has been engaging in what he termed negative campaigning: “My opponent has sent out negative and false attack (materials,) so if the candidate chooses to be negative, then that negativity can harbor negative feelings on both sides.”

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Yep. Probably what we unfairly saw as threatening graffiti was just a concerned voter, expressing sensible anger about campaign materials via a gallon of spray paint and something that unfortunately ended up resembling a target. Surely it was intended to be a mandala, a symbol of unity and positive campaigning everywhere.


Contact the author at anna.merlan@jezebel.com.
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State Senator Bill Stanley. Screengrab via YouTube/Rodney Billings. Big Time Small Time Dicks logo by staff male Bobby Finger.