At a candidate forum in Boca Raton last night, the G.O.P. candidate running against Rep. Alcee Hastings, former Chief Medical Officer for the state of Florida Dr. Marion Thorpe, filed a police report claiming the congressman threatened his life.
Congressman Hastings is not known for being a particularly well-balanced individual. As a federal judge he was impeached and removed from office for bribery and perjury by Congress, and was most recently in the news for saying of Sarah Palin, “Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks.” Hastings has generally been so out of control, even Esquire — no bastion of conservatism — recently endorsed Thorpe saying, “If Hastings didn’t keep them alive, race-baiting and stoking black-Hispanic tensions might be dead tactics in Florida.” Here’s the press release from Thorpe recounting what happened last night, though from what I gather from talking to Thorpe’s campaign, the account below contains only the excerpts of Hastings comments safe for family publications:
Disgruntled Congressman Hastings Threatens Life of Opponent Marion Thorpe
October 31, 2008
Last night at a candidate’s forum at Temple Beth El in Boca Raton, long time congressman Alcee Hastings debated his opponent Marion Thorpe Jr., for Florida’s 23rd Congressional District seat. According to a police report filed by Thorpe immediately after the event, debating wasn’t the only activity to take place that night.
According to the report, Congressman Hastings approached his opponent on the back of the stage, after the debate for their race had ended. As the candidates for State Attorney began their debate, following the Hastings-Thorpe exchange, Hastings embraced Thorpe and began threatening to “take (him) out, permanently! (emphasis his)” if he ever mentions Hastings’ impeachment again. He followed up by turning away from his opponent, wagging his finger and whispering “it’s not over, it’s not over, I’m coming for you.”
Witnesses of the event only saw what seemed to be a terse embrace and huddling of the candidates after the debate. It was noticeable that Thorpe was visibly taken aback after the encounter.
A police report was filed in which Thorpe has asked for criminal charges to laid against Hastings, as well as for a restraining order to be issued. He believes that his recent endorsement by Esquire magazine and several news outlets may have led to Hastings’ peculiar behavior, Hastings not being used to electoral opposition.
According to attendees of the event, it was Hastings, not Thorpe, who raised the issue of Hastings’ 1989 impeachment by the House on charges of bribery and perjury. Hastings told the audience that he had been (unfairly) impeached and survived, coming back to win a seat in Congress. Thorpe responded by pointing out that his impeachment still prevented him from receiving the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee and from accomplishing key legislative initiatives.
Hastings was impeached by the US House by a vote of 413-3 and was later convicted and removed from office by the Senate. He is only the sixth federal judge ever to be removed from office through impeachment. Three years later he won election as a United States Representative, a position he has maintained for 16 years. This election is the first of his many reelection battles in which his opponent has garnered significant media endorsements.