Candidates concerned by missing campaign signs

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Missing election signs have at least one local candidate hot under the collar.

County probate judge hopeful Gloria Wicker is upset that a 4-foot-by-4-foot sign turned up missing Monday. The sign, located at the intersection of Main and Mitchell streets, cost $50 and took tremendous effort to place, she said.

“I have spent many, many dollars on campaign signs and worked very hard to put them in this dry, dry ground. It really needs to be stressed that it is against the law (to take them),” she said.

Wicker, a Democrat, said she has not filed a formal police report.

Sheriff Roger Hatcher, also a candidate in the upcoming election, said he can sympathize with Wicker’s angst. His department has not had reports regarding political signs

“There’s a very large toll (campaigning) takes on the candidates. Win, lose or draw, it is stressful for candidates and things like this just add fuel to that stress,” he said.

Hatcher, a Republican candidate for magistrate judge, thinks it’s a problem in every election, although this year he attributes his only sign losses to the wind.

Wicker is not alone in her frustration of missing signs.

Sheriff candidate Doug Bowman said he has placed approximately 1,000 signs and estimates about 200 have been taken. He valued the signs at $2 each.

“They’re getting stolen all over the place. They’re just disappearing and I’m putting more out,” Bowman said.

“It’s real frustrating and disappointing to me that stuff like that has to go on.”

Republican probate judge candidate Michael Wells said he has placed about 100 signs and quite a few have turned up missing.

“I’m sure kids probably take some of them (but) I’m going to have to say it’s probably the wind,” he said.

Eddie Bigelow, 70, who lives on Anthony Street, woke up to find two of his three signs showing support for Matt Murray missing. Murray is a Republican running for Curry County sheriff.

“I think it’s just terrible, as a voter and a citizen, that you put signs on your property and they can steal them,” said Bigelow, a past deputy sheriff for Curry County.

Hatcher said he is unsure why someone might take a political sign.

“Maybe it’s orneriness, (but) I think that’s definitely below the caliber of anyone we’ve got running for office,” he said.