An aspiring political career in Seattle is on hold after city council candidate, Chris Rufo, says his wife and children were targeted with threats by political opponents. Rufo filed to run for city council against incumbent, Mike O'Brien, who represents northwest Seattle.
Rufo tells KVI's John Carlson, "After the campaign started to build momentum...we got some positive media coverage, the hate started to come our way."
Rufo says a number of people tried to get his wife fired from her job at Microsoft. Somebody even posted a threatening message on his children's school Facebook page. After the threats, he decided to put the city council campaign on hiatus while he considers his options.
"I was prepared for...criticism, for hate, for all sorts of things to come my way," Rufo said on KVI, " but I wasn't prepared for them to start to come after my wife and then my kids."
When the threats emerged, Rufo said, " For me that crossed a line. I was unprepared for it to reach that level, and unprepared for the kind of hatred and vitriol to come from that pretty small group of people--most of whom were kind of activists in the public housing and bicycle community." Rufo thinks the threats are coming from a group of 10-20 people.
Rufo has worked in the documentary film genre and knows about the tech world from his wife's career. "To have beliefs that are right of center in some people's minds (political opponents) is grounds to be fired," he said. "And there's this growing intolerance especially in some of America's biggest cities especially in the technology industry that people are scared. Ya know, I know a lot of folks who are are kind of centrist, right of center working at some of Seattle's biggest tech companies that are afraid to talk about their political beliefs because they're worried that their jobs would be at risk."
Rufo calls it a harassment/intimidation campaign against him and his family.
Carlson advised, "If you are pushed off the stage (out of the campaign) they (bullying activists) win. If you stay on stage and stand your ground--you don't sink to their level--you just stand your ground, you might be surprised with how many people end up standing on stage with you."
Rufo has not provided a timeline for deciding whether or not to re-enter the city council race or withdraw. The primary and election dates for this city council race are August and November 2019.