Transgender Vermont Candidate Christine Hallquist Receiving Death Threats, Reported to FBI

The first openly transgender candidate to win a major party's gubernatorial nomination said she had been hit with a barrage of death threats.

Christine Hallquist won Vermont's Democratic gubernatorial primary on August 14 and said she had since received a steady flow of hate-filled messages and other threatening attacks. Speaking with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Hallquist said the country's political division made such threats unsurprising in these months before the November elections.

The first openly transgender candidate to win a major party's gubernatorial nomination has been hit with a barrage of death threats. Getty Images | Hillary Swift

"Early on when our team assembled I said 'the more successful we are, the more vitriol and threats we are going to receive,'" Hallquist told the Burlington Free Press on Tuesday. "It's kind of a natural outcome of our divided country."

The Morrisville, Vermont, resident and Democratic candidate for governor said the threats began even before she won the primary and gained national attention for her breakout campaign. Hallquist said the death threats had been reported to the Vermont State Police and the state's FBI bureau.

Hallquist told the Burlington Free Press her campaign had stopped publicizing advance notices of her appearance times or the campaign office's address as a result of the threats.

Incumbent Republican Governor Phil Scott said he was disappointed to hear Hallquist had been the target of death threats and said he would not tolerate hate speech or threats of violence in the campaign.

"We must, as a society, do better to combat anger and violence," Scott told reporters on Tuesday. "I'm hopeful Vermonters will join me in ensuring everyone—regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or other characteristics—are treated with dignity, respect and acceptance."

Elliot Imse, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, told the Burlington Free Press that Hallquist's "game changer" campaign opened her up to more vitriol than any other opponent.

"While the people of Vermont know Christine as the intelligent executive with a clear vision for their state, her courage in running as an openly trans woman cannot be understated," Imse said. "It takes guts to be a trailblazer because with it comes opening yourself to attacks from the most hateful among us—it is what the leaders of social change nearly always encounter."