Vermont’s transgender candidate getting death threats

  • FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018 file photo, Vermont Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist, a transgender woman and former electric company executive, applauds with her supporters during her election night party in Burlington, Vt. Vermont's incumbent governor says he's saddened to hear that his opponent in the November election has been getting a steady stream of death threats and other personal attacks since her candidacy began to gain traction. Republican Gov. Phil Scott made the comments Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, after his Democratic opponent, Hallquist, the nation's the first openly transgender person to win a major party nomination to run for governor, reported the threats. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File) Charles Krupa

Associated Press
Published: 8/21/2018 11:16:00 PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont’s transgender gubernatorial candidate said Tuesday she’s been getting a steady stream of death threats and other personal attacks since her candidacy began to draw attention from across the country and the world.

Christine Hallquist, who won Vermont’s Democratic gubernatorial primary last week, said most of the threats, which began before she won the nomination, have been coming from outside of Vermont, although during her primary campaign it was not unusual for people to yell insults at her during parades and other public appearances.

“Early on when our team assembled I said ‘the more successful we are, the more vitriol and threats we are going to receive,’” Hallquist said Tuesday. “It’s kind of a natural outcome of our divided country.”

Hallquist, who is now running against incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott in the November election, is the first openly transgender political candidate to have won a major party nomination for governor.

Scott said Tuesday he was saddened to hear Hallquist had been threatened and he would not tolerate hate speech or violence against 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.”

Elliot Imse, a spokesman for The Victory Fund, a political action committee that backs LGBTQ candidates and has labeled Hallquist’s candidacy a “game changer,” said LGBTQ candidates face a number of obstacles heterosexual candidates do not and threats are not uncommon.

Imse said: “It takes guts to be a trailblazer because with it comes opening yourself to attacks from the most hateful among us.”

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