Lines that shouldn’t be crossed

LINES THAT SHOULDN’T BE CROSSED…. There’s a pretty interesting congressional race underway in Virginia’s 5th, where Rep. Tom Perriello (D) hopes to win a second term in a district that tends to be pretty conservative. What’s troubling, however, are some of the Republican tactics we’re seeing.

This week, as part of the routine back and forth between Perriello’s campaign and that of state Sen. Robert Hurt’s (R) camp, a Perriello aide said Hurt’s chief of staff is an out-of-district “carpetbagger.” Andy Sere, an aide for the National Republican Congressional Campaign, decided to respond by tweeting the full home addresses of Perriello campaign staffers who live outside the district.

Sere responded with six separate tweets noting each staffer that Perriello himself employed from out of the district and calling on the Virginia Democrat to fire those aides or risk being labeled a hypocrite.

The Republican listed the exact home addresses of those six Democratic staffers, relying on what another NRCC hand said were July quarterly reports.

During a climate season already marked by fevered rhetoric, political threats and even the occasional act of vandalism, Sere’s tweets sparked concern and outrage among Perriello supporters.

“NRCC spokesperson Andy Sere clearly crossed the line tonight, but will Robert Hurt stand by idly while those who recruited him and represented his campaign carry out these dangerous and unethical practices? It’s appalling and outrageous,” Perriello campaign spokeswoman Jessica Barba said. “Robert Hurt should refuse to accept any more support from the NRCC unless Andy Sere is fired, especially given the history here.”

Keep in mind, Sere could have just tweeted the names of the staffers, and noted that they live in other districts. He didn’t literally have to publish their full home addresses, but he did so anyway.

But “given the history here” is especially relevant. In March, right-wing activists opposed to health care reform published online the home address of Perriello’s brother. Soon after, the congressman’s brother found that a gas line had been cut at his house.

The NRCC is notorious for its ugly, win-at-all-cost campaign tactics, but under the circumstances and recent right-wing tactics in the area, circulating home addresses is a step way too far. Even Republicans should realize there are lines that should never be crossed, and this is one of them.