ISP investigating threatening text messages sent to state representative candidate

Amy Neiling is challenging for Indiana House District 32.
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CICERO, Ind. (WTHR) - As we get closer to Election Day, we're definitely seeing tempers flare between people who don't see eye-to-eye on politics.

But in one case in Hamilton County, it led to a state police investigation after a candidate received a threatening text.

"A threat to me is a threat to my family and that's not ok," said Amie Neiling, a candidate for state representative.

Neiling, a registered nurse from Cicero, said she's "running for state representative to go to our statehouse to try and help better represent the people that live in that district."

As the Democratic candidate for Indiana's 32nd House District, a traditionally Republican stronghold, Neiling knows she's got a fight on her hands against Republican incumbent Tony Cook.

"I hear all the time, 'Why are your wasting your time?'" said Neiling of the skeptics.

That hasn't stopped the wife and mother of three from handing out yard signs, making phone calls and even sending texts to voters' cell phones, asking for their support.

"I don't use my real name on the text for safety reasons," Neiling explained, saying she uses a phone app called "Hustle," which allows her to send out several text messages to registered voters very quickly.

The app can download voters' contact information so candidates can easily reach out to them.

Turns out, Neiling's concerns for her safety may not have been a stretch.

Indiana State Police are investigating threats made to Neiling via text after she received a text message from a registered voter, to whom she had reached out minutes earlier, reminding him he could vote early.

"The response I got back was, 'We're working on a plan to have this liberal 'C-word' - except he actually wrote the word - assassinated,'" said Neiling reading the text, which she provided to Eyewitness News.

"I don't like the 'C-word,' but telling me that or calling me that just hurts my feelings, it doesn't kill me. It doesn't threaten my family," Neiling explained, saying it was the word, "assassinated" which caused her to call Cicero police, who ultimately turned the case over to the Indiana State Police.

"I had to take it seriously, absolutely. How can you not take that seriously?" Neiling asked, explaining investigators didn't have to do a lot of digging to find the person who sent the text. Neiling already had his name and number, since she was the one who reached out to him first.

"I believe they have talked to this person already," said Neiling.

"It's completely in the prosecutor's hands at this moment with whether or not they decide to go forth with charges," she added.

Neiling says she hopes that's what happens.

"It is not a funny thing to threaten somebody's life and to say those words," Neiling said.

Still, it hasn't stopped her. Neiling has a message for the person who sent the text.

"Thanks for giving me more of a reason to have a push for the next two weeks," said Neiling.

Indiana State Police tell Eyewitness News this is an ongoing investigation. Neiling says this has not been a nasty campaign between herself and Cook.

Rep. Cook sent Eyewitness News a statement on Wednesday, saying "It is deplorable anytime and in any manner in which threats of bodily harm or death are issued, especially when the threats stem from political differences and opinions."