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Photos: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg's campaign said Friday that vandalism at its Knoxville, Tenn., office "echoes language from [Bernie Sanders'] campaign and its supporters," even as it admitted that it didn't know who was responsible.

Why it matters: It marks a massive escalation in the war of words between the two Democratic presidential candidates that has spilled into the open over the last week — covering everything from their heart health to debate performances to electability.

What happened: The Tennessee office had profanities spray painted across its glass doors — along with posters reading Authoritarian," "Classist" and "Oligarch" placed on its windows, per Knox News.

What they're saying: "We don't know who is responsible for this vandalism, but we do know it echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters," Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a statement.

  • "Over the past week, we've seen similar attacks against Mike Bloomberg 2020 offices in multiple states. Fortunately, no one has been injured. But this needs to end before someone gets hurt."
  • "We call on Bernie Sanders to immediately condemn these attacks and for his campaign to end the Trump-like rhetoric that is clearly encouraging his supporters to engage in behavior that has no place in our politics."

Go deeper

58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.