Widespread condemnation has been pouring in since a weekend attack against Republican Party volunteers signing up voters at the Walmart Supercenter at Atlantic and Kernan boulevards.
Monday on First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross, Florida State College at Jacksonville Political Science Professor Daniel Cronrath said it's not clear whether the attack was politically motivated. He said the suspect, Gregory Timm, was allegedly acting in a criminal manner that is not reflective of a larger group of people.
“It only takes one or two - and I hate to use this expression, but it's appropriate – it only takes one or two bad actors or one or two folks who are disturbed in some way to really, really paint with a broad brush,” Cronrath said.
Timm, 27, is accused of driving his van through a campaign tent where six Trump campaign volunteers were working. None of them was injured.
Timm was arrested on charges including aggravated assault on a person over 65, criminal mischief and driving on a suspended driver’s license. At his first appearance before a judge, Timm was ordered held on $530,000 bond, according to WJCT News partner News4Jax.
At a Monday news conference, Duval County Republican Chairman Dean Block called Saturday's attack "un-American," saying "this is not who we are."
Both Democratic and Republican parties quickly condemned the attack over the weekend.
The @DuvalDEC condemns this cowardly act of violence. No one’s life should be placed in danger for exercising their first amendment rights. (1/3) https://t.co/j2ceUI0HFb— Duval County Democratic Party (@DuvalDEC) February 9, 2020
As Democrats but more importantly residents of this great city of Jacksonville, we call on our fellow citizens to act with dignity, civility and respect for one another during this election cycle and beyond. (2/3)— Duval County Democratic Party (@DuvalDEC) February 9, 2020
“We are outraged by this senseless act of violence toward our great volunteers,” said Duval GOP Chairman Dean Black. “The Republican Party of Duval County will not be intimidated by these cowards and we will not be silenced.”— Duval County GOP (@DuvalGOP) February 8, 2020
“I call on every Republican in our great city to stand up, get involved, and show these radicals that we will not be intimidated from exercising our Constitutional rights.”— Duval County GOP (@DuvalGOP) February 8, 2020
In a rare show of unity, the Duval Democratic Party also applauded Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s Twitter comments following the attack:
.@marcorubio, we may not always agree, but as Chairman of the @DuvalDEC, I appreciate your comments. The perpetrator of this violent and cowardly act should not be used by either side to politicize or demonize fellow Americans. (1/2) #jaxpol https://t.co/Qowf9TIKh6— Daniel Henry (@dan636) February 10, 2020
President Donald Trump and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry also weighed in:
I just spoke to the local GOP chair. This is outrageous. The hate is toxic and dangerous. Thankfully no one was injured but certainly they are shaken after being targeted because they were registering voters. I’ve spoken to the Sheriff and of course his team is on top of this. https://t.co/q8bIaUxJTO— Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) February 8, 2020
First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross received many phone calls Monday morning with opinions about the attack and the state of politics. Listen to Monday’s First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross here.