A staffer for the reelection campaign of Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with aggravated battery at a fundraiser for Davis’s Democratic opponent, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.
A reporter for local TV station WCIA circulated video Thursday morning of Levi Lovell, Davis’s field director, appearing to harass Londrigan, her husband and others at the Springfield, Ill., bar where the fundraiser was being held.
On the video Lovell is shown holding a smartphone in the faces of several attendees, peppering them with questions and then accusing them of being “racist.” He appears to accuse a man trying to get him to leave of committing a “hate crime” before becoming physical with the man outside the venue.
Lovell was arrested Wednesday evening on a charge of aggravated battery, Springfield Police Lt. Brian Oakes confirmed to The Washington Post.
Matt Butcher, Davis’s campaign manager, said that Lovell has been fired from the campaign.
“As soon as I was made aware of the incident, his employment was immediately terminated,” Butcher said in a statement. “This campaign has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or violence of any kind.”
Davis apologized to Londrigan, her husband and the staff of the bar in a statement Thursday. He said Lovell’s actions “go against everything I stand for and go directly against what I have been promoting, which is more civility in politics.”
“My sincerest apologies to Betsy, her husband Tom, and everyone at JP Kelly’s. The incident involving a young field representative on my campaign should have never happened, and his employment was immediately terminated,” Davis said.
Londrigan addressed the episode on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, saying that she was relieved that it hadn’t escalated further and that “nasty, divisive politics do nothing for our community.”
“I’m disturbed that someone would show up to an event and try to harass and intimidate me and my family, but he is sorely mistaken if he thinks that it is going to slow me down one bit,” she said.