'Eat the rich' spray painted on Bloomberg campaign office in Johnson City

David Floyd • Updated Feb 27, 2020 at 7:30 PM

An unidentified vandal spray painted “eat the rich” in slanted, red letters on the front windows of Democratic presidential contender Mike Bloomberg’s campaign office at 1805 W. State of Franklin Road.

According to a police report, Andrew Daly, an organizer for the Mike Bloomberg Election Campaign, told police on Thursday that during the night an unknown vandal spray painted the front of the building. The report said there are several nearby cameras present at Cost Cuttters and Portobello’s, but an officer was unable to access the footage at the time. The report says there were no known suspects.

“These repeated attacks against Mike Bloomberg 2020 offices in Tennessee and around the country are a clear attempt to intimidate and scare our hardworking team and volunteers from getting out the vote for Mike,” the campaign said in a statement. “But we have news for them: it’s not going to work.

“Mike Bloomberg is running for president to unite our country when it is more divided than ever, and we will continue to share his message of taking on tough fights and winning with voters across the Volunteer state.”

The vandalism came about a day before the candidate and former New York City mayor is scheduled to hold a Friday rally at Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville.

Holly McCall, Tennessee communications director for Bloomberg’s campaign, said there had been several vandalism cases targeting Bloomberg campaign offices Michigan, Ohio and Knoxville. She said the language used in these cases was similar and that the incidents appeared to be part of a pattern.

Asked why these incidents seem to be targeting Bloomberg’s campaign, McCall said Bloomberg “really shook up” the presidential race, getting in late and using substantial resources at his disposal. She said that worries some candidates and their supporters.

“This is what happens in a primary,” she said. “I’ve been around politics a long time, and people become very passionate about the candidates they’re supporting, and I think this is probably the most negative way to express that passion.”

McCall also addressed criticisms that Bloomberg is using his vast wealth to “buy” the 2020 election, saying that in her 30 years around politics she’s never seen a candidate “buy” an election. She said it’s insulting to imply that American voters are not smart enough to select someone based on their merits.

“Certainly his money and resources can buy name recognition, they can buy ads,” she said, “but if people don’t like the message he’s got, they’re not going to vote for him.”

McCall said the act of vandalism is “aberration” from the warm reception the campaign has received in the Tri-Cities area.

“We know this is not representative of the area,” she said.