The field director for the campaign of Republican Rep. Rodney Davis was fired Thursday after he was arrested in Springfield, Illinois, for allegedly harassing the congressman’s Democratic opponent, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, and her husband at a campaign fundraiser.
Levi Lovell was arrested Wednesday evening outside JP Kelly’s Bar after he allegedly started hitting people who were trying to kick him out of a campaign event for Mrs. Londrigan, Springfield police said.
Springfield Police Lt. Brian Oakes told The State Journal-Register that Mr. Lovell was “believed to be intoxicated” and showed up to the event “purposely trying to record members of Betsy Dirsken Londrigan’s campaign, trying to get them to say something inappropriate.”
According to cellphone footage taken by WCIA reporter Mark Maxwell, Mr. Lovell chased Mrs. Londrigan and her husband around the bar with a phone in their faces, asking questions like, “Didn’t you donate to Nancy Pelosi?”
Mr. Lovell, who is black, put up a fight when people ordered him to leave, accusing them of discrimination and a “hate crime.”
One man finally managed to push Mr. Lovell out the front door, but Mr. Lovell pushed back, still recording with his phone. In another video, he pushed another man repeatedly while holding his cellphone just inches from the man’s face.
Springfield police were called to the bar for a panic alarm around 7:38 p.m. and Mr. Lovell was subsequently arrested, a local Fox affiliate reported.
Matt Butcher, Mr. Davis’ campaign manager, said Mr. Lovell was fired as soon as the campaign became aware of his arrest.
“As soon as I was made aware of the incident, his employment was immediately terminated,” Mr. Butcher said. “This campaign has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or violence of any kind.”
Mrs. Londrigan said in a statement that she was “relieved that my family, staff, and supporters are all ok and that this incident didn’t escalate even further.
“I am disturbed that someone would show up to an event and try to harass and intimidate me and my family, but he is sorely mistaken if he thinks that it is going to slow me down one bit,” she said. “Nasty, divisive politics do nothing for our community. I will continue to hold public town halls, campaign with civility, and show this office and voters the respect they deserve.”
Emma Brown, Mrs. Londrigan’s campaign manager, demanded that Mr. Davis “answer very clearly whether he or his campaign were aware of what this young man planned to do or even directed him to attend the event and try to intimidate Betsy, her family, and her supporters.”
The Sangamon County Jail confirmed that Mr. Lovell was taken into custody about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday and remained there Thursday morning.
He has been charged with aggravated battery.