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Examiner
  • GOP signs damaged

  • Some area Republicans say their signs in eastern Independence have been vandalized, and they see a connection between that and reports of shots being fired at three homes.

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  • Some area Republicans say their signs in eastern Independence have been vandalized, and they see a connection between that and reports of shots being fired at three homes.
    “This is getting stupid,” said state Rep. Brent Lasater, a Republican running for a second term against Democrat John A. Mayfield in the 20th District, which includes much of eastern Independence and unincorporated northeastern Jackson County.
    Ellen Bishop, coordinator of publicity in Jackson County for the campaign of U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, also has helped put up signs for Lasater and congressional candidate Jacob Turk. She said the incidents have begun to pile up:
    • Signs for Akin being defaced. Two of those have been on property owned by Mary Anne Gross and her husband, of Independence – first before the Republican primary in August and then again recently, with the image of the candidate cut out.
    “Whoever is doing it doesn’t want to let other people have their freedom of speech,” Gross said.
    • Reports of shots fired at three northeast Independence area homes – two of them in the Salem East area – in recent days. At one, Republicans said, a four-foot picture window was damaged.
    “All those homes have political signs in their yards,” Lasater said.
    • A four-foot-by-eight-foot Akin sign at U.S. 24 and Sterling Avenue was damaged. Those signs are large and prominent, and for someone like Bishop trying to get the word out for her candidate, they’re hard to come by.
    “It took us weeks to get this last batch,” she said.
    • Then Wednesday night, more signs – a large one for Lasater, a smaller one for Missouri House candidate Vicki Riley – near the U.S. 24 ramp onto southbound Missouri 291 were cut up, and cut-out pieces were found in a resident’s yard.
    All of that sent Bishop to the Independence police on Thursday. Police confirmed that they took the information but said they also need more information and need to determine jurisdictional questions – some of the areas in question are in unincorporated areas – before they can do much. Bishop said she was told the property owners and the campaigns would have file reports for the police to follow up.
    Lasater said there’s a similarity to the vandalism, with squares or other shapes beging cut out.
    “There’s somebody going around cutting them with a razor blade, cutting the middle out,” he said.
    Republicans also said they’re a little reluctant to step forward and perhaps encourage copy-cats but said it’s getting out of control. Lasater said he’s not that concerned about losing the three or four of his signs that have been defaced.
    Shots fired in the direction of people making a statement for their preferred candidate is another matter.
    Page 2 of 2 - “They could get killed,” he said.
     
     
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