SPRINGFIELD — U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, apologized to Democratic opponent Betsy Dirksen Londrigan on Thursday after the field director for his re-election campaign was arrested on aggravated battery charges following an incident at a Londrigan campaign event.
Levi Lovell, 25, was arrested Wednesday evening outside JP Kelly's Bar after an altercation with two attendees of the Londrigan event and a bar employee, police said. Davis said Lovell was fired Thursday.
"His actions go against everything I stand for and go directly against what I have been promoting, which is more civility in politics," he said in a statement. "This kind of behavior will never be tolerated on my campaign or with anyone on my staff."
A spokeswoman for Davis also confirmed that he called Londrigan personally to apologize.
Video obtained by Herald & Review media partner WCIA shows Lovell appearing to pester Londrigan and her husband at a campaign fundraiser at JP Kelly's and attempting to record them on cellphone video. Lovell is also seen being escorted from the bar and shoving another man outside.
Video shows a drunk, belligerent Levi Lovell pestering @BetsyforIL and her husband at a campaign fundraiser. Bartenders and staff asked him to leave. He trolls them as “discriminating” against him because he’s black. View is obstructed, but it appears at least one punch landed. pic.twitter.com/eNgIVxkLxe— Mark Maxwell (@WCIA3Mark) August 16, 2018
Springfield police Lt. Brian Oakes said Lovell showed up to the event "purposely trying to record members of Betsy Dirsken Londrigan's campaign, trying to get them to say something inappropriate." Oakes said Lovell "smelled like an alcoholic beverage" and was "believed to be intoxicated."
Lovell's bond was later set at $7,500, WCIA reported.
Londrigan, in a statement, said she was relieved that her family, staff and supporters were unhurt, and that the incident did not escalate further.
Without referring to Lovell by name, she said he was mistaken if he thought his actions would slow her down.
Late last night, Springfield police arrested and charged @RodneyDavis’ field director Levi Lovell with aggravated battery. He’s still behind bars this morning. Multiple witnesses told me he shouted in @BetsyforIL’s face and punch someone at her campaign event at JP Kelly’s.— Mark Maxwell (@WCIA3Mark) August 16, 2018
"Nasty, divisive politics do nothing for our community," she said. "I will continue to hold public town halls, campaign with civility, and show this office and voters the respect they deserve."
Davis campaign manager Matt Butcher said Lovell was fired immediately.
“As soon as I was made aware of the incident, his employment was immediately terminated,” Butcher said in a statement. “This campaign has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment or violence of any kind.”
The State Journal-Register contributed to this story.