I have personally been warned multiple times to avoid being too strident in my own political activities with tales of past political assassinations of reformers who went "too far". Of the ones I recall (and can anonymize), two were delivered by town chairmen, one by a committeeman. These are not generally hysterical people yet my little attempts at stirring up small government activism were viewed with real alarm. Even though they did not show it under most circumstances, these people are terrorized.
The terrorizing of GOP party officials is a generally hidden reason why the GOP often doesn't take full advantage of its opportunities and generally acts in more of a squishy fashion than you would otherwise expect. If retribution comes, they reason, it will come to them, personally or to their families.