Update: Congressman Rodney Davis said Levi Lovell, the staffer who was fired, was not sent by him, nor does he believe his campaign sent him, to Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan’s event at a Springfield bar last Wednesday.
In an interview last week, Londrigan said it is common to see political operatives affiliated with the Davis campaign at her events. On Monday, Davis said he too sees trackers at his gatherings but does not know who they are with.
“Those are some of the things, unfortunately, that are a part of politics today," said Davis. "I’d rather it not be part of politics. I’ve been screamed at so loud by supporters of those who are opposed to me that they’ve spat on me in the streets of Springfield. That’s not something we should condone and I certainly don’t condone the behavior of my former employee either.”
Davis has apologized for the incident.
Lovell was released on bond on Thursday. The Sangamon County State’s Attorney said criminal charges have not been filed at this time.
Previous story: The Field Director for U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis was arrested last night for aggravated battery at a campaign event for Davis' opponent.
According to Lt. Brian Oakes with the Springfield Police Department, the report stated that Levi Lovell was shoving people at a fundraiser for Betsy Dirksen Londrigan at a bar, JP Kelly's in Springfield. Londrigan is Davis' Democratic challenger in the 13th District race. Police say Lovell was putting his cell phone in other peoples' faces and identifying himself as someone who worked for Davis.
Oakes said Lovell was using his cell phone to "film them and try to get someone from the Londrigan campaign to say something inappropriate."
The report lists one victim who was either punched or elbowed in the chest. Oakes said the report has conflicting information.
Lovell smelled of alcohol, was slurring his words and appreared to be intoxicated, said Oakes.
He is currently being held in the Sangamon County Jail and his bond has not been set. He will have a court appearance Thursday afternoon.
Information obtained through Davis' most recently quarterly report with the Federal Elections Commission shows that, of the four people getting a salary from the campaign, Lovell was the second-highest paid. Davis' campaign said Lovell has been fired.
“As soon as I was made aware of the incident, his employment was immediately terminated. This campaign has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or violence of any kind,” said Matt Butcher, Davis' campaign manager.
Congressman Davis also issued a response:
"My sincerest apologies to Betsy, her husband Tom, and everyone at JP Kelly's. The incident involving a young field representative on my campaign should have never happened and his employment was immediately terminated. His actions go against everything I stand for and go directly against what I have been promoting, which is more civility in politics. This kind of behavior will never be tolerated on my campaign or with anyone on my staff."
Betsy Londrigan released a statement Thursday morning:
“I’m 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. 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.”
Her campaign manager, Emma Brown, also sent a statement to reporters:
“It’s clear that Rodney Davis is worried about his re-election, but that is no excuse for his staff’s actions. Rodney needs to 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.”