RICHMOND, VA – Today, Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker sent copies of the following letter to Governor Youngkin and Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Rich Anderson, requesting that they condemn the dangerous and inflammatory comments of Luis Gutierrez, the Buckingham County GOP’s handpicked registrar:
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May 24, 2023
The Honorable Glenn Youngkin
Office of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, VA 23218
The Honorable Rich Anderson
Republican Party of Virginia Headquarters
115 East Grace Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Dear Governor Youngkin and Chairman Anderson,
The words we choose can have an animating power. They can lift up others or they can be used to incite violence and inflame tensions. We have seen the negative and destructive power of rhetoric time and time again as political violence is exacted against officials, staffers, and bureaucrats.
Recently, we have been witness to the destructive, dangerous power of words in the comments made by Luis Gutierrez, the Buckingham County GOP’s handpicked registrar.
The Virginia Mercury recently reported Gutierrez’s comments:
Gutierrez described himself as a proud Republican and strongly criticized local Democrats whom he claimed had unfairly pushed him out of the job. He also said he believes former President Donald Trump’s narrative that election fraud occurred in the 2020 presidential contest.
“It’s not false. It’s very clear to me that there was election fraud,” Gutierrez said. “It’s very clear to a lot of people a lot smarter than I am that have proven it. See, the Democrats somehow, they have selective hearing, selective reading, selective seeing. They only see what they want to see.”
He went on to say he had “coined a new term” for Democrats, “the EIE network.”
“Experts. In. Evil,” Gutierrez said. “They’re evil. They’re sinister.”
No one from the leadership of the Republican Party – not on the state level, not on the local level – found the courage to denounce this hateful rhetoric, to disavow Mr. Gutierrez’s statement, or to distance the Republican Party from his message.
Language like this stirs political rancor, further roils ideological extremists groups, and incites violence from extreme factions of the far-right.
Labeling one’s political opponents as “evil” is dangerous and it has no place in our democracy. Statements like Gutierrez’s that go unreproved by GOP leadership is tantamount to an endorsement of their sentiment, and the hatred and violence it invites.
It is critical that we ensure competent, well-informed, nonpartisan individuals carry out the essential functions of local government – individuals motivated not by political advancement, but by service to their commonwealth and their community.
In order to maintain the orderly function of our local governments across the commonwealth, I implore you to condemn this rhetoric.
To paraphrase a Republican whose words united us all, Abraham Lincoln, I hope to appeal to the better angels of your nature in asking you to denounce Mr. Gutierrez’s dangerous rhetoric.
The Honorable Susan R. Swecker
Democratic Party of Virginia