North Side man charged with sending GOP gov hopeful Darren Bailey voicemail death threat: ‘I know where his kids sleep’
Illinois State Police say Scott Lennox left Republican Darren Bailey a voicemail threatening to “mutilate and kill” him. “This went above and beyond anything that is acceptable, even in the realms of political discourse,” Cook County Circuit Court Judge Susana Ortiz said. “It simply will not be tolerated.”
Prosecutors say anger over a political television commercial at a bar led a Chicago man to send Republican gubernatorial nominee Darren Bailey a voicemail threatening to mutilate and kill him and his family — a threat that also prompted a lockdown of downstate schools associated with the state senator and his family.
Bail was set at $75,000 for Scott Lennox, 21, of 3300 N. Lake Shore Drive, who is charged with one felony count each of threatening a public official, telephone harassment and harassment by electronic communications, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Susana Ortiz on Wednesday also put Lennox on electronic monitoring and barred him from contacting Bailey, his family or any of his staffers.
“This went above and beyond anything that is acceptable, even in the realms of political discourse,” Ortiz said at the hearing. “It simply will not be tolerated.”
The violent voicemail came last Friday, the same day Paul Pelosi, the husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was attacked with a hammer in his San Francisco townhome by an intruder targeting the speaker.
And according to Capitol Police data, cases related to “concerning statements and threats” against members of Congress more than doubled over the past few years, jumping from 3,939 in 2017 to 9,625 in 2021.
The voicemail threat to Bailey followed a fight Lennox had at a Chicago bar after a political commercial appeared on the bar’s television. The ad — and repeated others he had seen during the campaign — made Lennox “angry,” prosecutors said, and a “heated argument” began between Lennox and his friends, leading him to send a voicemail to Bailey’s Springfield office, prosecutors said.
“I’m going to skin Darren Bailey alive, making sure he is still alive, and I’m going to feed his f——— family to him as he is alive and screaming in f——— pain,” prosecutors say Lennox said in the voicemail. He also allegedly made statements about abortion in his message.
He further said, “He is a piece of white a— racist s—-, and honestly if he doesn’t kill himself, I will. You know what? I know where he lives. I know where he sleeps. I know where his kids sleep. And I know the f——— school he works at,” prosecutors allege he said. Lennox also said “the candidate teaching all this mother f——— misinformation is going to die. So honestly he should just kill himself before anything else happens.”
Lennox also said he didn’t like Gov. J.B. Pritzker but stated he didn’t like Bailey “even more.”
“So f—- him for being a piece of s—-,” prosecutors claim Lennox said of Bailey in the voicemail. “So you know what? I am going to take anything and everything possible. You know what? I am going to make him scream. I am going to make him scream and suffer. Yeah, that’s right. So he better kill himself, and if he doesn’t, I am going to kill him.”
The schools affiliated with Bailey and his family in southern Illinois were placed on soft lockdown. Bailey also was granted extra security detail and was told to avoid appearing in public as police investigated.
According to a Chicago police report, Lennox left Bailey the voicemail at 10:27 p.m. Oct. 28. While Illinois Secretary of State Police did not immediately deem him to be a credible threat, further investigation by the Illinois State Police led police to pursue it.
In an interview with police, Lennox allegedly allowed officers to see a Snapchat message he sent to friends, including one in which he bragged that he was a “political terrorist.” After telling a friend Bailey was on lockdown, he offered up three laughing face emojis, prosecutors said.
To another friend, Lennox wrote, “I feel so f——— accomplished,” prosecutors said.
Police said Lennox admitted making the threats. He was arrested at 10 p.m. Monday at his Chicago home.
Bailey on Wednesday said “rhetoric” is leading to “hatred,” with a subtle reference to Democrats deeming him “too extreme” to lead Illinois in ads that have been running since the primary.
“Divisive, inflammatory, and misleading rhetoric is driving hatred across our state as some attempt to label political opponents as dangerous threats,” the farmer from downstate Xenia said in a statement.
“Whether we agree or disagree on policies, we are all Americans,” Bailey said. “I pray this young man gets the help he needs. We must bring our state together and fight for the safety and prosperity of every Illinoisan.”
In their final televised debate, Pritzker repeatedly called Bailey an “extremist” who was “dangerous” for the state and “shouldn’t be let anywhere near the governor’s office.”
But Bailey used similar language that night against Pritzker, dubbing the Democratic governor’s “woke ideology” as “extreme,” saying “his gender issues are so extreme” and his “extreme policies are destroying the city,” and telling Pritzker, “your incompetent and arrogant leadership is killing people.”
But on Wednesday, Pritzker joined Bailey in denouncing the threat against his Republican opponent, tweeting that “the violent rhetoric and division we’re seeing across the country is unacceptable.”
“Hatred in any form has no home in Illinois,” Pritzker tweeted.