UNION, N.J. Authorities are investigating two reports of spray-painted swastikas being found at the New Jersey home of a congressional candidate.
Indian-American Democrat Peter Jacob says the swastikas were found outside his family’s Union home on Friday and Monday.
Jacob is seeking the 7th District House seat held by Republican Leonard Lance. The Lance campaign has condemned the incidents and said the display of symbols like the swastika is “abhorrent.”
Jacob says his family has lived at the home for six years without incident. He blames the vandalism on the “ever increasing atmosphere of accepted racism” in the country.
Authorities say they plan to increase police patrols in the area.
The Republican opponent said he condemns the vandalism and supports an investigation.
Jacob said it has happened twice – swastikas scrawled in orange, first on the sidewalk and then at his home in Union.
“It’s very upsetting,” Jacob said. “It’s very saddening for us to see this.”
Jacob is Indian-American, running against U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, a Trump supporter. Jacob said he has no doubt that Lance’s support of Trump was to blame for the incidents.
“When your national message is to teach America to hate again, you know it’s definitely going to inspire those and trickle down nationally,” Jacob said.
Jacob said Lance’s Facebook page recently shared a blog post featuring his image alongside Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen. It has apparently been deleted since, Silverman reported.
The Lance campaign released a statement in response to the claims.
“The display of anti-Semitic hate symbols like the swastika is abhorrent,” the statement said. “Leonard Lance stands with Peter Jacob in condemning these offensive acts of vandalism and supports a full police investigation into these crimes.”
The statement further said Lance has requested to attend a news conference at Jacob’s home on Tuesday and has asked to speak to Jacob personally about the incidents “in an effort to show bipartisan unity against racism.”
The Lance campaign also said Jacob supporters have launched personal attacks on Lance’s social media platforms.
Jacob said he will have to think over the offer from Lance to attend the news conference.