A Chicago man is accused of making violent threats against the Republican candidate for Illinois governor. Scott Lennox, 21, allegedly called the office of Illinois state Sen. Darren Bailey last Friday and left a lengthy voicemail, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
“I’m going to skin Darren Bailey alive, making sure he is still alive … and screaming in f***ing pain,” Lennox allegedly said, according to a bond proffer from the prosecutor’s office. He is also accused of saying, “I know where he lives, I know where he sleeps, I know where his kids sleep.” The voicemail message concluded with, “Yeah, that’s right so he better kill himself and if he doesn’t, I am going to kill him,” according to the document filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
The call was traced to Lennox using caller ID and the Illinois Secretary of State Police initially interviewed him. The court document said Lennox admitted to the call. “The Illinois Secretary of State Police deemed (Lennox) was not a credible threat and did not arrest (Lennox) or transport him to any location for further questioning.” However, the case was referred to Illinois State Police, who did arrest Lennox after interviewing him and examining his phone.
Lennox was in court Wednesday, facing felony charges of threatening a public official, telephone harassment and harassment by electronic communications. He was granted $75,000 bond with electronic monitoring, and was ordered to stay away from Bailey, his family and associates. Lennox was also ordered not to post threatening messages online.
It’s not uncommon for threats to be made against politicians ahead of an election, but the US political environment is particularly tense in the wake of the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
CNN was unable to reach Lennox by phone Wednesday, and it was unclear if he had an attorney.
In a written statement from his campaign, Bailey said, “Divisive, inflammatory, and misleading rhetoric is driving hatred across our state as some attempt to label political opponents as dangerous threats. Whether we agree or disagree on policies, we are all Americans. I pray this young man gets the help he needs.”
Bailey’s opponent, incumbent Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, tweeted, “The violent rhetoric and division we’re seeing across our country is unacceptable. Hatred in any form has no home in Illinois.”
In addition to being a state senator, Bailey is the co-founder and former president of a private Christian school and was previously president of the local public school district board of education in Clay County, according to his website.
Schools associated with Bailey were placed on a “soft lock down,” prosecutors said.