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Pueblo Politics: Suspicious package closes Grijalva’s office

  • Updated

U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva’s congressional office is closed this afternoon as police respond to a suspicious piece of mail.

An envelope arrived with swastikas drawn on the outside and a white powdery substance on the inside, said Adam Sarvana, Grijalva’s spokesman.

The office is on lockdown as police investigate. Those outside the office are not allowed in, and the workers and constituents inside are not allowed to leave until police clear the scene, Sarvana said.

Preliminary health checks show those in the office are OK, but further testing is needed because the substance has not been identified, Sarvana said.

At about 1:45 p.m. there were several police and two fire vehicles outside the office.

It’s not the first time his office has been the target of threats.

Grijalva received death threats in April, shortly after SB1070 was signed into law and he called for a boycott in response. He closed his Tucson and Yuma offices as a result.

In July, after he called off the boycott, staffers found a bullet and a shattered window inside his Yuma office.

Grijalva appeared on a national news talk show this week complaining about racist tactics being used in the race.

Pima County Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Rogers said he’s disappointed in the level of discourse in politics.

Rogers blames this action on the kind of rhetoric coming out of the tea party and right-wing Republicans.

“It’s disappointing and I think it’s directly related to the level of rhetoric,” Rogers said. “That kind of level of rhetoric is what leads people to do crazy things. They have a responsibility to tamp this down and say we can have a civil discussion about the future of the country without screaming names and violence or threats of violence.”

But Tucson Tea Party organizer Trent Humphries said the tea party does not advocate violence.

“I have to say it’s really interesting that when Democrats are most in trouble, something like this always happens,” he said.

“We aren’t sending out anything with swastikas or powder. And as far as ‘inflamed rhetoric,’ all we've said is Raúl Grijalva is an idiot because he called for a boycott of his own state,” Humphries said.

Grijalva’s Republican opponent Ruth McClung said she condemns the latest news and said violence or threats of violence against politicians are wrong.

“This is a democracy, this is about ideas. We should have a right to share our ideas and we should not be afraid to share our ideas regardless of what they are,” she said.

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