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caption: April Berg was elected to represent Washington's 44th legislative district in 2020 and took office in January 2021. 
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April Berg was elected to represent Washington's 44th legislative district in 2020 and took office in January 2021.
Credit: Courtesy of April Berg campaign

Washington Democrats sound alarm over incidents against Black candidates

Washington Democrats are sounding the alarm over recent incidents involving Black candidates running for office and their campaign staff.

The Everett Herald reported this month about an incident where a man was seen removing campaign signs for two Black Democratic state lawmakers — April Berg and John Lovick. That man then allegedly assaulted another man who confronted him about removing the signs.

The incident occurred shortly after Berg's field director, who is Black, was confronted by a white man on a bike during an afternoon of voter outreach in Mill Creek. The man used an expletive to tell the staffer, Julian Jackson, to leave the neighborhood. Jackson recorded video of the confrontation.

“Get out!" the resident demanded.

Julian Jackson: “You don’t own the neighborhood, I’m doing my job," Julian Jackson replied.

“I do not, you’re correct," the resident replied. "But I don’t want you here.”

In a separate incident earlier this spring, one of Berg’s campaign signs was defaced with a Nazi symbol.

In King County, Carey Anderson was shot twice by a man with a BB gun while placing campaign signs near Auburn. Anderson, a Black pastor, is a candidate for state representative.

“We have to be so careful even placing signs. I wonder if I’d been white if the same thing would have happened — I just don’t know,” Anderson told KUOW.

In a statement, Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins and other members of the House Democratic Caucus said they are “profoundly troubled by the ways in which racist rhetoric and violence have been normalized in recent years.” They added: “We invite all Washingtonians to recognize the particular commitment and risk that Black candidates and campaign staff take on in their work to represent their communities.”

In response to the BB gun incident, House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox said on Twitter: “Violence and threats have no place in politics.”