Juliet Parfrey, spokeswoman for Jefferson County Commission candidate Ryan Mc Allister, said April 9 she is reluctant to put up any more campaign signs for Mc Allister for fear they may be stolen.
Parfrey estimates roughly 50 small campaign signs that were placed along Center and Eaglemount roads and along roadsides throughout Port Hadlock and Quilcene, were taken down in March shortly after Mc Allister kicked off his campaign Feb. 23 in Quilcene.
“We have bought new signs, but have not put all of them out, due to fear of them being stolen again,” Parfrey wrote in an email April 9. She said the signs were valued at $500.
Mc Allister wrote in an email April 9 that he contacted Jefferson County and state Department of Transportation road crews to see if they had taken them. Some of the signs were on public right of way; some were on private property, Mc Allister said.
“Supporters contribute funds to my campaign, I take that responsibility seriously,” he wrote. “Whoever is taking these signs are not only undemocratically silencing a candidate, they are stealing money from their neighbors.”
Jefferson County Undersheriff Art Frank wrote in an email April 9 he was not aware of any developments on identifying who might have taken the political signs.
Removing campaign signs is a misdemeanor. Frank cited RCW 29A.84.040, which states, “A person who removes or defaces lawfully placed political advertising including yard signs or billboards without authorization is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable to the same extent as a misdemeanor that is punishable under RCW 9A.20.021.”
The law also states defacement or removal of each sign constitutes a separate violation.
As of the end of March, Mc Allister had reported spending $1,345.71 on yard signs, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission. Mc Allister paid $419.66 Feb. 15 for yard signs. He spent another $506.39 on large signs and $419.66 on yard signs March 29, according to the PDC.
Mc Allister, a Brinnon resident, bought all of his signs from Capitol City Press Inc., according to records he filed with the PDC. The company is an employee-owned company with a union staff, and has offices in Tumwater and Bellingham. Mc Allister is a shop steward and union organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21.
Mc Allister is running as a Democrat for the District 3 position on the Jefferson Board of County Commissioners now held by Kathleen Kler. Kler is not seeking re-election.
Greg Brotherton of Quilcene, also a Democrat, is seeking the commission seat.
Filing week opens May 14. All candidates must file by May 18 in order to be on the primary ballot on Aug. 7. Anyone who announces an intention to seek office before then, and start campaigning, must declare their intention to the state PDC.
PAST SIGN THEFTS
The theft of campaign signs is not new in Jefferson County. People reported yard signs for Hillary Clinton stolen in 2016.
Veterinarian Jim Sherwood put up signs in front of his business on Upper Sims Way in 2015 for Jefferson Healthcare commission candidates Marie Dressler and Chuck Russell. After the signs were taken down, Sherwood installed a game camera, with a night flash system, above the signs. He captured a man taking down the signs.
Frank said he was not aware of any other political signs being stolen so far this year.
Anyone with information about stolen campaign signs can call the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at 360-385-3831.