Suspected Political Pipe Bomber Threatened Beto O'Rourke, Campaign Says

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke meets voters in Dallas on Oct. 27.
U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke meets voters in Dallas on Oct. 27. Brian Maschino
The Florida man alleged to have sent pipe bombs to President Donald Trump's political opponents and critics around the country threatened U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke earlier this year, his campaign confirmed to the Observer on Wednesday afternoon.

"We received Facebook messages from [Cesar] Sayoc threatening Beto in April," O'Rourke campaign spokesman Chris Evans said. "We immediately reported them to the Capitol Police and then turned over the messages to the FBI in July."

According to The Dallas Morning News, the first outlet to report on the messages, the messages "included photographs of O'Rourke with his wife and children and a warning to 'hug your loved ones everytime [sic] you leave home. See you soon.'"

Evans said the FBI has gone through the mail at the campaign's El Paso office multiple times since Oct. 25, including on Wednesday.

Federal officials arrested Sayoc last week after fingerprint and DNA evidence linked him to several packages sent to prominent Democrats, including Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, and CNN. He's been charged with five federal crimes, including sending explosives through the mail and threatening a former president.

O'Rourke addressed the attempted bombings at a campaign stop on Friday.

"If we allow violence into our politics, we are going to lose so much of what made us great." — Beto O'Rourke

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"I think there are too many times when those in public office or those running for public office characterize opponents, people of another political party as somehow less American or a danger to the country or a threat to us," O'Rourke said. "When we don't stick to the facts, when we don't make it about our vision, when we don't focus on the future, I think it's harder to keep this democracy together. Part of the genius of this country is that, for the most part, we were able to peacefully resolve our political differences without resorting to violence. ... If we allow violence into our politics, we are going to lose so much of what made us great."

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Observer.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young