His everybody-does-it excuse wasn’t fooling anybody.
A Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates who was allegedly caught red-handed vandalizing political signs near a voting site on the eve of Tuesday’s elections got an earful from the police officer who pulled him over.
And this one cop who was speaking for all of us.
According to Fox News, state Delegate Chris Hurst was running for re-election in a tough race in the Old Dominion’s 12th District in the western part of the state.
On Monday night around 10 p.m., he was pulled over by a police officer in the city of Radford who’d spotted a woman pulling up campaign signs outside the Radford Recreation Center, which was to serve as a voting site Tuesday, according to WSET-TV.
After pulling up the signs, the woman, who was later identified as Hurst’s girlfriend Emily Frentress, got into Hurst’s vehicle, the station reported. According to WSET, the signs, all for Republican candidates, had “pulled out of the ground or had been placed upside down. Others had been bent and thrown away from the roadway into deeper grass.”
The police officer had some questions.
“Want to explain your actions?” the officer asked near the beginning of an interaction that was captured in a 21-minute video.
“Do you want to explain your actions about tampering with the voting site up there?”
Check out the video here, via Fox News:
That’s not the kind of question that usually starts off a pleasant interaction with a police officer during a traffic stop. (It’s not “have you been drinking tonight?” of course, but it’s still not good.)
The fact that Hurst was driving on a suspended license didn’t help. (He later said he let the insurance lapse on a Jeep he owned but was not driving, according to Fox, which could have caused the suspension, though he maintained he’d never been notified.)
“You’ve got to resort to doing this instead of doing a fair election?” the officer asked.
When Hurst offered no real response, the cop’s tone got tougher.
“Chris, quit playing,” he said. “You all are up there turning over signs at the polling area, and you’re sitting here acting like you don’t know what’s going on?”
Well, clearly Hurst couldn’t fall back on the “Do you know who I am?” line, so he turned on the political gasbag machine:
“I really don’t feel like me responding to any questions that an officer has for me, that are kind of asking me to make a value statement on my actions is really kinda immaterial to the question here,” Hurst said.
“I would think that something that was a little high jinks, steam-blowing-off is exactly what everybody over on the other side of the mountain does and people all over this district do.”
That high-blown verbiage (“immaterial to the question here”) and schoolboy defense (“people all over this district” do it) might have impressed Hurst’s companion. It didn’t impress the officer.
“So, you’re going to resort to that? And represent us?” the officer asked.
“I need you to just do your job here tonight and I’ll do mine,” Hurst responded. “I have nothing more to say to you officer. I’m sorry for actions that I may have done or my partner may have done, but I think you’re getting a little emotional here.”
“I’m not getting emotional at all,” the officer said. “You’re supposed to be representing us. You’re supposed to be representing us. And not out here acting like a schoolkid.”
Well, being out like a schoolkid seems to be was what Hurst was doing. And then he was defending himself by claiming everyone “one the other side of the mountain” — presumably meaning Republicans — engages in the same behavior.
“How am I supposed to vote for you if you’re out here doing this?” the officer asked.
“Were you planning on voting for me?” Hurst responded.
“Well that’s all up in the air now,” the officer said.
Now, there’s way of knowing whether the police officer was a Hurst supporter (the sneaking suspicion is he isn’t and never has been), but that, as Hurst might say, is “immaterial to the question” here.
What is material is that a Democratic politician and his companion were allegedly caught targeting the signs of the political opposition at a voting site on the night before an election day — an election day that turned out miserably for his party.
What’s material is that that same politician seemed to have no shame about the situation at all.
Are Democrats more likely to cheat in elections than Republicans?
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In the end, Hurst and his companion were ordered to put back all the signs that had been targeted.
It wasn’t clear how much word of Monday night’s incident might have affected the election on Tuesday, but it was clear that by Wednesday morning, Hurst was no longer a politician seeking re-election — he was a politician conceding the election.
The investigation into the incident has been turned over to the Virginia State Police.
In an election where President Joe Biden’s incompetence and dishonesty have deservedly tarnished the Democratic name, Hurst could hardly have picked a worse night to indulge in his “hijinks” to allegedly vandalize a political opponent’s campaign.
“Everybody does it” isn’t an excuse a 10-year-old can expect to make and get away with it, but it’s the excuse politicians in both parties have been making for too long.
As Tuesday’s elections results in Virginia showed — from Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s loss in the gubernatorial election on down to the majority of the state House of Delegates switching to Republican control — Americans are tired of excuses.
Politicians behave that way and they’re supposed to be representing us?
Whether he knew it or not, that cop was speaking for everyone.