U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria to receive additional security in Norfolk after receiving threats

Amid threats of violence, Rep. Elaine Luria will receive an additional security detail of off-duty sheriff’s deputies.

The Norfolk City Council voted Tuesday night to accept up to $68,000 from U.S. Capitol Police to pay deputies as independent contractors to provide protection for the Democratic congresswoman, who lives in Norfolk.

The need for security comes after Luria has received threats while serving on a high-profile committee investigating the January 2021 insurrection at the Capitol and former President Donald Trump’s actions leading up to it, said Luria’s communications director, Jayce Genco.

“She and her family have been subjected to threats of violence as people continue to perpetuate dangerous election lies and conspiracy theories,” Genco said. “Threats of violence against anyone is reprehensible, and it’s unfortunate that standing up for the truth in America today means risking the health and safety of you and your family.”

It’s unclear how many deputies would protect Luria at a given time and whether they’d only provide security when she’s in town. Genco declined to provide details.

He also declined to elaborate on the threats that Luria has received or to discuss what security Luria already has in place.

Luria appreciates the close coordination between the Capitol police and local law enforcement, he said, and will not be deterred from her mission.

“She will continue to live up to her oath to support and defend the Constitution from all enemies,” he said.

Citing safety concerns, a spokesperson for the Capitol police declined to comment Monday.

After a nearly yearlong investigation, the committee began showcasing its findings at televised hearings in June. Following a break in August, the hearings are expected to continue later this month.

Luria, a Navy veteran, previously told The Virginian-Pilot she asked to serve on the committee because “you can’t have this kind of violence, this intent to stop the proceedings in our government and not get to the bottom of it.”

Other committee members are also facing harassment.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, previously released a series of threatening voicemails sent to his office.

“(We’re) gonna get your wife; gonna get your kids,” one caller can be heard saying in the audio recording, which Kinzinger shared on Twitter.

Threats of political violence are increasing nationwide with women and minorities often bearing the brunt of it, said Amanda Wintersieck, associate professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Republicans and Democrats should be able to hold different views while still both accepting basic facts and respecting the cornerstones of democracy, Wintersieck said.

But she said political polarization combined with false claims of election fraud from the former president have made it easier for some to dehumanize politicians they oppose.

“This is a really grave threat to democracy,” she said.

Katie King, katie.king@virginiamedia.com