/Republicans vow revenge at ballot box after volunteers nearly hit by van – POLITICO

Republicans vow revenge at ballot box after volunteers nearly hit by van – POLITICO

A Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, image taken from video a voter registration tent lays on its side after Gregory Timm drove a van through it, in Jacksonville, Fla.  | AP Photo

A Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, image taken from video a voter registration tent lays on its side after Gregory Timm drove a van through it, in Jacksonville, Fla. | AP Photo

TALLAHASSEE — Florida and Duval County Republican leaders on Monday vowed “revenge” at the ballot box after a man drove his van into a tent of GOP volunteers who were registering voters over the weekend.

Party officials said Gregory Timm targeted the group because of their support for President Donald Trump. During a press conference in Jacksonville, they described how Timm nearly hit people, made an obscene gesture, and started recording the incident on his phone. They used the event to make a plea for donations to the party.

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“The only other explanation is some great hatred for tables and chairs,” said Dean Black, chairman of the Duval County Republican Party.

Timm was arrested and appeared in Duval County court Sunday on charges of aggravated assault, criminal mischief and driving with a suspended license after he drove his van into a tent in the parking lot of a Walmart Supercenter in Jacksonville. The incident drew a tweet from Trump and became a Republican rallying cry.

No one was injured in the attack, but Republicans say their volunteers jumped out of the way to avoid the van.

Local authorities are looking into whether the attack was politically motivated.

Black called Timm a “coward” but said Republicans should not respond with violence. GOP supporters instead must reelect Trump, he said, and asked for donations to the party.

“The best revenge is victory,” Black said. “Righteous peaceful victory in November for President Trump and all Republican candidates.”

The Florida Times-Union reported that Timm, 27, is from Des Moines and has lived in Florida for approximately two years.

He told police he worked as a stage hand. He does not appear to be registered to vote in Florida, the newspaper reported.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters were among those attending the Monday press conference.

“Almost on a daily basis we hear about civility and importance of civility, especially from the left,” Gruters said. “What’s not civil is plowing a van through a voter registration drive.”