The Democratic Senate candidate’s campaign confirmed to the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday that Sayoc had sent O’Rourke several threatening messages earlier this year.
The messages sent to O’Rourke on Facebook included photos of his family. At least one told the lawmaker to “hug your loved ones everytime you leave home. See you soon.”
O’Rourke campaign spokesman Chris Evans told the Dallas newspaper that they forwarded the threats to authorities in July.
Last Thursday, the FBI sent agents and bomb-sniffing dogs to O’Rourke’s office in El Paso, Texas, apparently concerned that he could also be targeted with one of the explosive devices allegedly sent by Sayoc.
The suspect used similar wording about hugging loved ones in online threats he made to other targets. On Oct. 11, a Twitter account associated with Sayoc sent a message to Rochelle Ritchie, a Fox News pundit and former press secretary for congressional Democrats, warning her to “Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave home.”
Ritchie reported the message to Twitter at the time and was told it didn’t violate the company’s rules against abusive behavior.