A legislative candidate woke up this morning to an anti-Semitic hate message and a pair of swastikas spray-painted on his driveway and on a campaign sign in his yard.
Republican Arizona House candidate Adam Stevens was leaving his house this morning when he noticed something spray-painted on his home driveway.
“I had an appointment, nothing about the campaign, and I opened up my garage door and it all kind of went south from there,” he said.
On his driveway were the words “Go Home Jew” along with a swastika. The vandal or vandals also painted a swastika onto a campaign sign in Stevens’ yard. Stevens said he was shocked to see the graffiti, and has never experienced any discrimination due to his religion in his neighborhood before.
“You see it in the news that people have to deal with this kind of issue, not just anti-Semitism, but the gay community, the Hispanic community, the black community, our law enforcement. But when it’s literally at your front door, it’s a different process of taking it all in,” he said.
Stevens said he has no idea who would have put the graffiti on his driveway, but he’s pretty sure it is related to his campaign for the House in Legislative District 16, which covers Apache Junction, part of Mesa and San Tan Valley, where Stevens lives.
“I think that someone spray-painted my yard sign is pretty telling (that it’s related to the campaign),” he said.
But Kyle Moyer, Stevens’ campaign consultant, said the vandalism is far larger than a simple campaign matter.
“This isn’t a campaign issue. This is an indictment of everything that’s going on in our country and our state,” he said.
Moyer blamed “the very angry rhetoric” from prominent politicians, including presumptive presidential nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, for fostering an environment in which it is acceptable to demonize groups of people.
Stevens said he doesn’t talk about his faith on the campaign trail unless it comes up organically in conversation, but he suspects someone was trying to intimidate him and force him out of the race.
“If they thought this was going to make me take a step back, they don’t know me very well. This will not have the effect that whoever did this hoped it would have,” he said.
Stevens said he has filed a police report and plans to invest in more security around his house. He said the “language of our politics” has become so divisive that dealing with hate messages is almost an expected part of the political process.
“I think this is someone who is hyper-aware of the LD16 campaign… But with the political rhetoric in the country, everyone just needs to take two seconds to catch their breath and start acting like reasonable people,” he said.
Stevens is running in a four-way GOP primary for the two House seats in the heavily Republican district. He faces Republican Rep. Doug Coleman, Rep. Kelly Townsend and former Republican Rep. John Fillmore.