SANGAMON COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A campaign staffer for Republican Congressman Rodney Davis was arrested and initially charged with aggravated assault Wednesday night. The charges were later reduced to disorderly conduct.
Springfield police took Levi Lovell into custody after he crashed a fundraiser event for Davis’ Democratic opponent Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan.
Video obtained by WCIA shows Lovell chasing Dirksen-Londrigan and her husband around the bar at JP Kelly’s while he attempted to ask menacing questions and record them on his cell phone.
In a statement, Davis’ campaign manager Matt Butcher said, “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.”
The incumbent Congressman has cited belligerent behavior from partisan opposition as a key reason why he refuses to hold town hall events.
“My sincerest apologies to Betsy, her husband Tom, and everyone at JP Kelly’s,” Davis said. “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.”
His opponent is in the middle of a 14-county tour of Illinois’ 13th Congressional District where she paints a contrast of transparency and open representation between herself and Davis.
Dirksen-Londrigan told WCIA that she was not hurt, although her husband Tom Londrigan, a former lawyer for the state, was pushed and shoved in the altercation.
“I’m relieved that my family, staff, and supporters are all ok and that this incident didn’t escalate even further,” Dirksen-Londrigan said in a statement. “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.”
Emma Brown, Campaign spokeswoman for Dirksen-Londrigan, said, “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.”
*This story has been updated to include an apology from Congressman Davis and to clarify the nature of the charges filed against Mr. Lovell