In wouldn’t be election season without some stories about campaign sign chicanery, but it seems what’s going on with some signs in District 44 is particularly egregious.
That district is home to a heated contest between incumbent Senator Tim Flakoll and Rep. Blair Thoreson as well as newcomer state House candidate Gail Nelson on the Republican side, and incumbent Rep. Josh Boschee, House candidate Karla Rose Hanson, and Senate candidate Merrill Piepkorn on the Democratic side.
Democrats are pouring money into their candidates, with a national Democratic campaign committee designating Hanson, specifically, as an “Essential Race” candidate per a press release sent out by the state Democratic party earlier this month.
And now it seems as though all that intensity has poured over into some acts of childish vandalism, albeit from unknown individuals.
Thoreson tells me they’ve turned over security camera footage of multiple unidentified people on multiple nights stealing and/or destroying campaign signs for the Flakoll-Thoreson-Nelson race as well as some from fellow Republican and gubernatorial candidate Doug Burgum’s campaign.
I’ve added some more photos below. Thoreson tells me the vandalism seems as though it’s something more than random.
“The destruction to our signs and also Doug Burgum’s signs has raised a lot of eyebrows around our district. The damage has taken place pretty much everywhere, so it just doesn’t seem to be the routine ‘kids having fun’ type of thing,” he said. ” We have turned over photos of the vandalism captured by a security camera to law enforcement, and they are investigating the incidents.”
“We strongly believe in First Amendment rights, but this certainly isn’t the way exercise them,” he added.
Thoreson tells me there has been “well over $1000 in damage/destruction” to their campaign advertising, which is “more damage this election season than in all of our other elections combined.”
“This isn’t weather-related…wind and rain don’t leave heel prints,” he added. “We’ve had to enlist a half-dozen people to keep signs up, either through repairs or replacement.”
Here are some additional photos. If you recognize any of these people, or have any information about these incidents, your best best is probably to contact the Fargo Police Department.