Threats against Arizona elected officials, congressional lawmakers jumped in recent years

Arizona State Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, said threats of violence sparked by the election temporarily drove him and his family from their home.

The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol included earlier threats against Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs./Screengrab

By Jacob Holter | Cronkite News

Threats against elected officials during the heated 2020 election were shocking – but they were not isolated. State and federal authorities say threats against state lawmakers more than doubled last year, from 12 in 2019 to 28 in 2020, while threats against members of Congress jumped from le…

When mobs stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, Arizona resident Jacob Chansley, better known as the Q-Anon shaman, left behind a hand-written note for Vice President Mike Pence.

“It’s only a matter of time. Justice is coming.”

Chansley denied in court documents that the note was the threat prosecutors say it was. But if it was a threat against an elected official, Chansley would be far from alone.

Credible threats against members of Congress have risen steadily from 3,939 in 2017 to 8,613 in 2020, according to data from the U.S. Capitol Police. Those numbers spiked in 2021, with about 4,500 threats from Jan. 1 to March 31, racking up more threats in three months than in all of 2017, and putting the year on pace to double the 2020 total.

The increase comes as no surprise to experts who track the nation’s increasing political polarization.

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