A small explosion of some kind occurred Monday afternoon in a mailbox outside the home of Indiana Democratic congressional candidate Brendan Mullen.
A law enforcement official told TPM on Tuesday that authorities are investigating a spate of incidents involving similar explosions. Four such explosions have occurred in and around Granger, Ind., where Mullen lives, in the last 24 hours, according to David Coulson, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Coulson said the St. Joseph’s County Sheriff’s Department is leading the investigation.
“We’re assisting in any way we can,” Coulson said, referring to ATF.
Mullen is running in Indiana’s 2nd congressional district. His spokesperson Andy Reynolds told TPM the incident occurred between 4:45 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday. Mullen, his campaign finance director, and an intern heard the explosion, and went outside to see what had happened. Several neighbors also left their homes in response to the noise. According to Reynolds, both Mullen and his financer director spotted a black car driving away “out of corner of their eye[s].”
Reynolds said that Mullen then “spoke with the police, they came and checked it out,” and that local authorities later contacted the ATF and the FBI. But he noted that at “this point it’s more of a precautionary measure.”
“We certainly hope that it’s not a politically motivated thing,” Reynolds said.
Calls to the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI were not immediately returned.Mullen's opponent is, of course, a Tea Party-backed candidate and her opponent has sought to characterize her a "Tea Party extremist." Is this simply another effort by rogue forces within the U.S. intelligence community to rescue the candidacy of their faltering chosen candidate by making it appear that Walorski is backed by a bunch of wild-eyed, right wing extremists? Mullen, a West Point graduate who served in the DMZ of South Korea and several tours of duty in Iraq, lived and worked in Washington with his wife in some obscure role as a military contractor after leaving the military. He and his wife owned three homes in Washington and only moved back to Indiana so he could run for Donnelly's open congressional seat. When Walorski recently made an issue of her opponent's three D.C. homes, the campaign used left-wing media outlets to suggest that she was trying to put Mullen at personal risk by publicizing the address of his homes and attacking his military service to his country. In a story headlined, "Rep. Walorski publicizes home addresses of Democratic challenger in campaign ad," the Huffington Post wrote:
Rep. Jackie Walorski's (R-Ind.) latest campaign ad goes after her Democratic challenger, Brendan Mullen, as a Washington, D.C. insider who doesn't share Hoosier values. To underscore the point, the ad publicizes Mullen's home addresses . . .
Andy Reynolds, Mullen's campaign manager, called Walorski's charges "laughable," saying the candidate lives in Indiana with his wife and two daughters. He added that the D.C. addresses are of rental properties.
"Brendan is proud to have served his country honorably as an officer in the United States Army, and was stationed in Washington D.C. -- along with being stationed at the DMZ in Korea and near Mosul, Iraq in combat as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom," he said in a statement. "Brendan is proud of his South Bend roots, being born and raised here. That’s why he and his wife are raising their two daughters here in Indiana, and why Brendan runs a small business here helping Hoosier veterans and their families."
Republicans have lately been decrying Democratic trackers who have filmed the homes of GOP candidates and posted the raw footage on the Internet. They have argued that it's an invasion of privacy and puts their families at risk . . .
Mullen's campaign put out an ad on Wednesday responding to Walorski's spot, featuring Army veteran Chad Gibson, who served in Iraq with Mullen.
"So when I see Jackie Walorski smear Brendan, who has spent his life defending our country and working for veterans -- while Walorski spent her's as a career politician -- that's downright un-American," Gibson says in the ad.To show you how out-of-touch Mullen is with Indiana, when he sought to distance himself from Obama and the liberal national Democratic Party, he described himself to a reporter as a "common sense centrist"- a "Birch Bayh Democrat. "I'm not a national Democrat," he told the South Bend Tribune. "I'm not an Obama Democrat. I'm a Birch Bayh Democrat." Uh, Birch was as liberal as Ted Kennedy, Brendan. It was Evan Bayh who was considered the centrist Democrat.
UPDATE: Just caught this pointed headline that ran on Soros-funded Daily Kos blog: "4 bombs, One in Indiana Dem Brendan Mullen's mailbox, He's running against a Tea Party candidate." "Now, I'm not suggesting that Jackie Walorski had anything to do with the 4 bombs detonated in Brendan Mullen's district," War on Error writes. "However, there is a video showing that some of her followers are a tad unruly."