The primaries are over and all eyes and campaign efforts now turn to the Nov. 8 general election.
Voters can expect candidates to turn up the volume on messaging as campaigning intensifies. With that comes the unfortunate side of politics.
The customary stealing of political signs is on the uptick. While this is commonplace during election years, Bradenton City Council Ward 5 incumbent Harold Byrd Jr. said, “It has been brought to my attention that signs have disappeared more during this election cycle than ever before.”
Byrd said he is only just beginning to place signs, but he has budgeted for the losses in anticipation.
Manatee County School Board candidate Misty Servia, who earned her way into a November runoff with incumbent Dave Miner in the primaries, said it has been an ongoing problem for her.
“We have seen several signs go missing,” said Servia. “A lot of them are disappearing, but the more frustrating part for me is that I’ll place a sign and drive by in a few hours and find signs from my opponent sandwiching mine to the point you can’t see them. They are expensive, and this kind of thing shouldn’t be going on.”
“It’s called blocking, and she’s done the same thing,” Miner said. “One good turn deserves another.”
Miner said it’s been one of the worst election cycles he’s ever seen for stolen and damaged signs.
“I’ve been involved in quite a few campaigns over the decades, and I’ve never seen more signs go missing than this election year,” Miner said. “It’s very disappointing. It’s not something I’m going to lose any sleep over, but those signs are expensive.”
Bradenton mayoral candidate Eleuterio Salazar has fared well, reporting one sign was stolen. Ward 1 candidate Tami Goudy and incumbent Gene Gallo both report substantial losses.
Stealing signs around the city will not decide the election.
Ward 1 candidate Tami Goudy
“They are disappearing regularly,” said Goudy. “Altogether, we’ve lost 10 signs at $10 each. I wish people would leave everyone’s signs alone. Allow every candidate to get their signs out and look at each platform of the candidates to decide their vote. Stealing signs around the city will not decide the election.”
Gallo said he’s had more than a dozen taken thus far, and noted he can’t even keep signs on Manatee Avenue West and 46th Street because they consistently disappear.
Politics is sometimes ugly, which is to say, the wrong people are running.
Mayor Wayne Poston
“I wish that it would not happen, but there’s not much you can do to stop it,” said Gallo.
Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston is just heating up his campaign following the primaries and is only now placing political signs.
“Politics is sometimes ugly, which is to say, the wrong people are running,” Poston said, who noted that many of the candidate place their signs illegally and without permission. “So it’s no wonder that some go missing.”
Mayoral candidate Warren Merriman said he, too, has only just begun placing signs because of the issue.
“I waited until after Labor Day because my concern was that some anonymous sign picker-upper supporting one of my opponents would come along and clean them out,” Merriman said.