Skip to content
CityLab
Government

Candidates for Local Office Hit an Increasingly Hostile Campaign Trail

Those running for local office across the US are seeing more threats, harassment and online vitriol, often from far-right and anti-democratic extremists. 

Campaign signs at a polling location in Miami on Aug. 23. In many local elections, races for positions like school board member have become magnets for online vitriol and offline harassment. 

Campaign signs at a polling location in Miami on Aug. 23. In many local elections, races for positions like school board member have become magnets for online vitriol and offline harassment. 

Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

Deb Calvert has decided that she’s done knocking on doors by herself.

A twice-elected, at-large member of the city council in Minnetonka, Minnesota, she prides herself on being the kind of official that’s focused on solutions, not partisanship. On her campaign website, she emphasizes bread-and-butter issues: workforce housing, public safety, and speeding up EMS and ambulance response times in this well-off, wooded suburb of 54,000 outside of Minneapolis.