A survey conducted by the University of San Diego reveals that female officeholders are more likely to receive threats and harassment from members of the public.
The survey is part of a larger research project being conducted by the University of San Diego, which was discussed previously here.
According to the poll, political moderates receive more threats than their colleagues. Liberal politicians receive the second-largest amount, with conservatives receiving the fewest.
The problem has clearly worsened in recent years. Since first entering office, 66% of politicians say instances of threats and harassment have grown. Over half of those polled said they have thought about leaving office as a result of the intimidation.
KPBS has detailed some of the threats and intimidation against female office holders. Victims include Chula Vista Elementary School District Trustee Kate Bishop, who has received threats of rape; former National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, who was harassed outside a council meeting in 2014; and Vallecitos Water District Board Member Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson, who took up self-defense classes after harassment by a colleague.
The dynamics are similar outside of San Diego County. In 2020, Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick resigned amid a barrage of death threats. That same year, a man violently rushed a staffer in an effort to enter San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon’s office. The suspect, who had reportedly developed a romantic obsession with Harmon, was tackled and subdued by City Manager Derek Johnson before being placed under arrest.