Last night, someone broke into a campaign office of Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) in Charlottesville, VA. According to a report the campaign filed with the Charlottesville police, someone entered the unoccupied office between 2 and 5:30 a.m. by busting in a window screen. The perpetrator then took information on polling place locations and deliberately distributed it in the wrong neighborhood, Perriello’s campaign says:
[Campaign spokesperson Jessica] Barba said they noticed the stolen materials had been distributed to the wrong voters today, when canvassers out in the area around the University of Virginia began seeing students who had the door hangers with the incorrect polling place. Perriello said it was clearly meant to “confuse student voters,” and the campaign has sent canvassers out today to clear up any confusion.
A sign for Hurt’s campaign was also left in front of Perriello’s office. “The only thing that leads us to believe that they are Hurt supporters is that it appears to be an attempt to suppress our vote, but also when our staffers arrived at 5:00 in the morning in the office, there was a Hurt sign planted outside of the office building, which definitely wasn’t there when they left before,” Barba told the Huffington Post.
Hurt’s campaign, meanwhile, has explicitly accused Perriello supporters of staging the break-in. “Apparently, Perriello supporters are so desperate for sympathy that they staged a mock break in by drama students from UVA looking for extra credit,” Chris LaCivita, a Hurt campaign strategist, told Politico in an e-mailed statement.
Perriello is in his first term in Congress, but is locked in a tight and very high-profile race; President Obama held a campaign event for Perriello on Friday, saying he was “one of the best congressmen Virginia has ever had.” This weekend, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor held an event for Hurt.
This isn’t the first time Perriello has been targeted — earlier this year, a gas line at the home of Perriello’s brother was severed after Tea Party activists posted the address online.
A prior version of this story, based on an erroneous local news report, said that the incorrect voter information was distributed by the Perriello campaign. In fact it was distributed by the perpetrators. We apologize for the confusion.