Oct 20, 2016 7:25 PM
NASHUA - One candidate for New Hampshire State Representative is frustrated that dozens of his campaign signs that he and his supports have put up throughout the city, have all been taken down or vandalilzed.
Steve Negron is a Republican candidate from Ward 5 in Nashua. A retired member of the Air Force, this is his first time running for public office.
"I had to get my signs out early because my name isn't recognized in the political arena," Negron said on Thursday afternoon. "I probably started [putting them up] about a month and a half ago, just strategically in high-traffic areas."
Negron said as time went on, he started putting up five or ten signs at a time, and his supporters also started helping.
However, shortly after, he started getting questions about where his signs went.
"I started driving around, and I noticed all the signs I had put out were gone," Negron recalled. "One was actually sliced in fourths, like someone had shredded it."
Negron said his first concern was over how expensive the signs were and the work he put into campaigning so far, but there was something bigger that was concerning him.
"People who were never really involved in politics, now, because [this election] is such a big event, it may be driving behavior that you normally wouldn't see in an off-presidential year," he said, describing how the climate of the presidential election could be fueling these kinds of actions locally.
"It may drive people to think they're trying to help their candidate by taking the others out," Negron added. "To take my stuff was really kind of disheartening."
But removing political advertisements and campaign signs isn't just concerning for candidates, it's illegal.
According to New Hampshire Election Law, only public officials or members of law enforcement agencies can remove political signs from public properties. Likewise, only private property owners can remove political signs from their own property. In the instance of private land, removing, defacing or destroying political signs like Negron's can be punishable by $1,000 fines - for each separate offense committed.
Negron wasn't the only Nashua candidate to be targeted. He and Patricia Klee, a democrat from Ward 3, both told The Telegraph in Nashua about their concerns.
Negron said he has also made a statement about the issue to the Nashua Police Department, but officers cannot do anything about the alleged vandalism unless they catch someone committing them.
Still, the first-time local politician said he hopes this behavior doesn't become standard in New Hampshire, as he doesn't believe it's what politics should be about.
He had a message for whoever is responsible along those very lines.
"I think healthy dialog is what we’re missing," Negron said. "By defacing my property and taking it, throwing it away, it doesn’t really allow any kind of dialogue between people to try to find out what their common ground is."
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