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true true true true

Opponent Of Pence's Brother Alleges Racist Threats, Gunfire

Jeannine-Lee-Lake.jpg

A Black woman who says she has received numerous racist and threatening messages as an Indiana congressional candidate against Vice President Mike Pence's brother called police after hearing what she thought was gunfire before a campaign event.

Democrat Jeannine Lee Lake, who faces long odds against Republican Rep. Greg Pence in the GOP-dominated 6th District, said she had just parked Thursday evening outside Vera Mae’s Bistro in Muncie when she heard what she believes were three gunshots outside the driver’s side window. Lake said she was rattled but uninjured, and she noticed no damage to the vehicle.

Muncie Police Capt. Steve Cox said officers responded to the scene shortly after 8 p.m., and an investigation is ongoing.

“It's terrifying to me,” Lake said. “Now, in the scope of where we’re at with this campaign, in terms of some of the negative things, the harassment that's happened, I do feel like things are escalating quite a bit.”

Lake said she began receiving racist phone messages and damage to personal property late this summer after the Delaware County GOP published her personal address and contact information in a Facebook post. Many of the voicemails call her racial slurs and include other derogatory language.

"You’re nothing but a loudmouth frickin’ n*****,” a man said in one of the messages Lake shared with The Associated Press.

She says that last month somebody mailed her and two campaign aides a 22-page document containing private details about her pending divorce and personal whereabouts. Lake said she considered the packages to be “personal threats” because the research gathered couldn't be found with simple online searches.

Delaware County Prosecutor Eric Hoffman, who reviewed the case, reported an “envelope contained photocopies of various election statutes and regulations that the unknown person or persons had mailed to Mrs. Lake." The documents contained “no explicit or implicit threats," he continued, adding, “given these facts, under Indiana law, no crime has been committed.”

Lake made a sheriff's office report in September that somebody vandalized property at her home. She said a personal cellphone, door magnets and campaign signs were stolen Monday from her campaign RV after somebody broke the back window.

Pence has denied any involvement in the incidents and asked that the prosecutor “conduct a full investigation.”

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