DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn said he received a voicemail on his phone threatening physical harm on Oct. 9.
An opinion piece was published a day earlier in the Des Moines Register, where Wilburn criticized former President Donald Trump and the Iowa Republicans who supported him at a recent rally in Des Moines. Wilburn described the racist language and the physical violence wished upon him.
“I received the first of two voicemail messages from a restricted number. The first voicemail ended with a threat that included a reference to lynching,” said Wilburn. “The second voicemail I received was on Sunday morning. It also contained explicit language. In both, the N-word was used multiple times.”
Wilburn, who is also a state representative from Ames, received an email on his legislative account that Monday morning using the same explicit language. He was able to make the connection to the opinion piece he wrote because in the email and both voicemails there were specific references to the comments he made about Trump in the article. Wilburn explained his emotions since receiving the racist remarks.
“It is disappointing, frustrating, you get angry,” Wilburn said. “I think the part that is critical is that at some point we, meaning all of us that don’t want to see those types of comments, that type of vitriol, people making hurtful, racist statements, at some point we have to say enough is enough.”
The Ames Police Department confirmed to WHO 13 News that Wilburn reported the calls and email and that there is an investigation underway.
“I can confirm Rep. Wilburn reported on 10/10/21 that he received several voicemails which were harassing and threatening. We are investigating this incident,” said Commander Jason Tuttle with the Ames Police Department.
Wilburn hopes by sharing his story, those who have suffered racism or witness it step up.
“My hope is that my coming forward and making this report will get others to step forward and say this is unacceptable, this is not our state, this is not our country,” Wilburn said. “That is my hope.”