Political Signs Stolen; Incumbent Suspects Challenger, But He Denies Knowledge
Five large political signs for Lesil McGuire disappeared overnight
ANCHORAGE - It was a contentious legislative race already, and now it has turned nasty.
Senator Lesil McGuire says thousands of dollars worth of campaign signs have been stolen.
And she's suggesting her Republican primary opponent, newcomer Jeff Landfield, is behind the theft.
These aren't lawn signs.
They’re four feet by eight feet, double-sided, weighing an estimated 60 pounds each, and worth about $400 apiece.
McGuire told police that five of them were stolen overnight Sunday.
That’s a felony, because of the $2,000 value.
And McGuire walks right up to the line of saying her opponent did it.
Senator Lesil McGuire says the primary election challenge from fellow Republican Jeff Landfield has been so negative that she thought of him after learning five of her campaign signs were stolen Sunday night or Monday morning.
"This is the first time I’ve ever had something like this happen to me. And I guess I would just say with an opponent like this, it doesn't surprise me that it would happen with somebody like him. It seems very immature."
Landfield is emphatic that he and his supporters were not involved.
"I have no knowledge of this. I would not condone any such behavior. I very strongly believe in property rights. I really believe this is a way to distract from the issues and her bad record. Her record unfortunately is very bad when it comes to spending. It's very bad when it comes to taxes."
McGuire admits she does not have any evidence against Landfield, although she still hopes for surveillance camera footage to turn up.
But she said, "From the outset, his very first press release, back in May when he filed, was negative. And it set the tone. And it was nothing about him and what he wanted to do for the state or for the district; it was all about me."
Landfield said there might be quite a few suspects in the theft.
"When I go door to door, Senator McGuire is very unpopular among people. So I believe she has quite a few people out there who don't like her: Voters upset with her record. So I think there's a whole list of people who would potentially do something like that."
Police department spokesman Lieutenant Dave Parker told CBS 11 that it's too soon to say whether Landfield will be interviewed.
"We have to go on evidence, not people's suspicions, not people's beliefs. We have to have hard evidence."
But either way, the incident is a sign of a toxic race.
McGuire's signs were erected legally, but this is the point in election cycle in which some candidates have their signs removed by the government.
For example, the state Department of Transportation will remove, without notice, signs placed within the state's roads and highway rights-of-way.
Signs also can be removed if there clutter up sight lines and create a traffic hazard.
The Municipality of Anchorage will remove signs that are attached to traffic signs or power poles, or those that are erected on city property, and political signs require a city permit.