Police arrested a man Monday after he walked onstage and interrupted GOP Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah at a debate with Democratic opponent Shireen Ghorbani.
Law enforcement arrested Corbin Cox McMillen and charged him with disorderly conduct and interrupting a political meeting, a Class B misdemeanor, for leaning into Stewart’s microphone during his closing statement and loudly stating a conspiracy theory about a connection between vaccines and autism, according to KUTV in Utah.
The interruption came at the end of the debate held at Dixie State University in Utah’s 2nd District.
“Vaccines cause autism,” said the man, who wore a loose white button-down tucked into khaki pants as he bent at the waist over Stewart’s podium. “Autism is caused by vaccines.”
Dixie State University police quickly rushed onstage and arrested McMillen as the debate moderator apologized to the flustered congressman.
“All right, I guess he got my closing statement, is that right?” Stewart joked.
During the debate, Stewart criticized Trump for imposing harsh tariffs on countries and organizations like China, Canada and the European Union as part of his escalating trade war with them, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Some of the president’s tweets are “indefensible,” the congressman said.
But the economy is humming, he said, and Trump’s tax code overhaul deserves credit.
“Because of that tax reform we have the strongest economy we’ve had since I’ve been alive,” Stewart said.
Ghorbani shot back that the tax cuts benefit large corporations and the already wealthy.
The candidates touched on a number of environmental, economic and foreign policy-related topics.
Most experts do not expect the 2nd District, which encompasses the largest geographical swath of the four districts in Utah, to be competitive.
Stewart is seeking a fourth term there. He defeated his 2016 Democratic challenger by 28 points. President Donald Trump carried the district by 14 points over Hillary Clinton.
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Democrat Elaine Luria led Rep. Scott Taylor by 8 points in Virginia’s 2nd District amid lingering questions about the Republican lawmaker’s role in a ballot signature scandal, according to an internal poll released by Luria’s campaign Tuesday.
The survey, conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, gave the Navy veteran a 51 percent to 43 percent lead over Taylor. A June survey by the same firm showed her trailing by 4 points, the campaign said.
Luria’s campaign credited her lead partly to the alleged scheme to submit fraudulent qualifying petitions to help independent candidate Shaun Brown make the ballot — an apparent attempt to siphon support from Luria.
“While voters in the district have been bombarded by coverage of the election fraud scandal surrounding Congressman Scott Taylor, we have remained focused on sharing Luria’s record of service to her country and community,” Luria campaign manager Kathryn Sorenson said. “This is a swing district, and we are going to fight for every vote between now and Election Day.”
A special prosecutor is investigating four of Taylor’s campaign staffers for allegedly forging dozens of signatures on Brown’s behalf.
A Richmond, Virginia, circuit court judge ordered Brown’s name removed from the ballot Sept. 5 after finding the petitions she submitted were “rife with errors, inconsistencies, and forgeries.” The Virginia Supreme Court last week dismissed Brown’s appeal.
Candidates for Congress in Virginia must collect at least 1,000 signatures from residents of the district to appear on the ballot in a general election.
The Democratic Party of Virginia, which filed the original lawsuit in August to kick Brown off the ballot, has accused Taylor of helping Brown, his 2016 Democratic opponent, in a backdoor maneuver to split the Democratic vote.
Taylor has denied those claims.
Garin-Hart-Yang interviewed 404 likely general election voters from Sept. 5-8 by both landlines and cell phones. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
The survey also found that Taylor’s “personal ratings” had dropped to 33 percent positive and 33 percent negative — down from June when he was at 41 percent positive and 27 percent negative.
In contrast, the number of respondents reporting positive feelings about Luria rose over the same period. She scored 20 percent positive to 5 percent negative in June. In September, she scored 34 percent positive to 8 percent negative.
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