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Binnie describes death threats



Last modified: Thursday, September 09, 2010
Republican Senate candidate Bill Binnie said this week that he has been the target of 'death threats' because of his pro-choice views.

Binnie told the Conway Daily Sun that there have been threats on his life and threats against his elderly father.

'I'm a fiscally conservative pro-choice Republican,' Binnie told the Conway paper. 'People come up to our doorway all the time.' Binnie said he believes his pro-choice stance led to the death threats.

Binnie Campaign Manager Bryan Lanza said Binnie, about a month ago, got a number of anonymous harassing phone calls. When one caller left his name, Binnie contacted the police.

Rye police Chief Kevin Walsh confirmed that the police are investigating one harassing phone call, which Binnie received July 23. 'We are not investigating death threats,' Walsh said. 'It's not unusual for an officer to go to a house and take a report of a harassing phone call. This is just one incident that we're investigating.'

Walsh would not discuss the content of the call because it is still under investigation.

Lanza said it was clearly a death threat, regardless of how the police categorized it.

Binnie told the Conway Daily Sun that he received 1,000 pieces of mail in one day, mostly from people opposed to his pro-choice views. 'We don't answer our phone anymore,' Binnie told the paper.

U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, a Democrat running for the same Senate seat, condemned the threats. 'The threats against Mr. Binnie and his family are absolutely appalling, and have no place in our politics,' Hodes said in a statement. 'His Republican opponents should denounce these hateful acts and reaffirm their support for a political process in which ideas are debated with respect and tolerance.'

Meanwhile, Binnie's daughter has also claimed that she was targeted for her father's politics. According to an incident report by the Hanover Police Department, Heather Binnie, a Dartmouth College student, accused a police officer of damaging her car as he placed a parking ticket on her windshield. The names of both Heather Binnie and the ticketing officer were redacted from the report, and the Monitor does not know the officer's identity.

Lanza would not comment on the incident, saying Binnie wanted to protect his family.

According to the police report, written by Officer Shannon Kuehlwein, Heather Binnie said that because her father is running for Senate 'every cop knows her car.' She said there had been incidents of vandalism in the past.

The police officer who ticketed her claimed he did not know who she was and denied damaging the car. Kuehlwein wrote that she examined the pen and belt buckle of the ticketing officer and found no evidence that either had been used to scratch the vehicle. Kuehlwein wrote that there were five or six scratches on the car's hood, which had dirt in them and were 'not as new as (Heather Binnie) complained they were.'

Kuehlwein wrote that Heather Binnie said she saw the officer intentionally scratch her car. 'She again reminded me of her father's political aspirations and how their family has been a target of harassment,' Kuehlwein wrote.

When Binnie told her where she was standing when she saw the officer scratch her car, 'I pointed out that it would be a physical impossibility for her to have actually seen him scratch the vehicle from where she was watching,' Kuhlwein wrote. Binnie said her boyfriend witnessed the incident, but the boyfriend told Kuhlwein he had not.

Kuhlwein said he did not believe the officer caused the damage. Heather Binnie 'alluded to the fact that I was 'protecting him,' ' referring to the ticketing officer, and said she wanted the incident documented, Kuhlwein wrote.

The police report was written Aug. 14 and modified Aug. 19. The investigation was suspended.