Vermont's Transgender Gubernatorial Candidate Receives Death Threats

Christine HallquistPhoto: Charles Krupa/AP

Christine Hallquist says personal attacks and threats have increased since her candidacy has drawn national attention.

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Hallquist, who recently won the Democratic nomination for the Vermont governors race to become the first openly transgender major party gubernatorial candidate, says that though the attacks had started before she won the nomination, they have increased as her campaign has gained notoriety. Though during her primary campaign she was used to hearing people yell insults during her public appearances, she says most of the threats are coming from people who live outside of the state of Vermont. The attacks have been coming through social media and by phone. To date she has received at least a dozen threats against her life.

"Early on when our team assembled I said 'the more successful we are, the more vitriol and threats we are going to receive,'" Hallquist told the Associated Press on Tuesday. "It's kind of a natural outcome of our divided country."

Because of the threats, Hallquist is no longer giving advanced notices regarding where she will be making appearances. She is also not publicizing the location of her campaign headquarters. She is also not providing any event information for people who call her office from out if state.

"Normally, I wouldn't have thought about it, but we decided not to tell them about events because they are not from Vermont," she said. "I'm sure it's perfectly innocent, but with a little heightened awareness, we're just taking a little extra precaution."

Her Republican opponent in November, Gov. Phil Scott, says he is saddened to hear about the threats Hallquist has received and that he does not tolerate violence or hate speech towards anyone.

"We must, as a society, do better to combat anger and violence," Scott said. "I'm hopeful Vermonters will join me in ensuring everyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or other characteristics are treated with dignity, respect and acceptance."

Hallquist says that despite the recent vitriol, a majority of the people of Vermont have been accepting of her and her candidacy.

The campaign has reported the threats to both the Vermont State Police and the FBI.

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