But Sterling, a boyish and bespectacled 50-year-old with thick gray hair, has found himself in a surprising place for such a loyal Republican: on the receiving end of ire and death threats after he criticized President Trump over his falsehood-filled campaign to overturn the results of an election he lost.

The threats are graphic. Someone texted him his home address and told him to sleep with his eyes open. Another urged him to commit suicide. He found his name on a website of the president’s perceived enemies, his face in gun crosshairs. Police guard his home. On a recent evening, he heard his front door rattle and, not expecting company, leaped to attack an intruder. It turned out to be his startled fiancée…

Sterling can’t pinpoint an incident that shaped his values, but he recalls that he had never liked bullies and had always felt responsible for helping others.

“I remember being very cognizant of right and wrong growing up,” he said. “But, listen, politics can be really crappy and cutthroat. I get that. I was a politician. But these people, these elections workers, they didn’t sign up for that.”