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Candidates grappling with campaign sign vandalism

Candidates spend thousands on street-side ads
Posted at 5:50 PM, Oct 12, 2016

Two candidates running against each other for a seat on the Pasco County Commission. But both agree on one issue. People have to stop destroying their campaign signs.

“I’m actually finding these removed, picked them up, they are being thrown in the woods,” said Barry Horvath.

Both said they’ve lost hundreds of signs this election season.

Just last night Horvath discovered one of his in Hudson had the face cut out.

“I’ve put that out on Saturday night and by Monday morning they are literally gone or destroyed,” he said.

Incumbent Kathryn Starkey said this has been a problem for years, but she doesn’t think it has anything to do with politics.

“I don’t think it’s any of the candidates or their immediate people. Unfortunately there are people that like to vandalize these signs and these are expensive,’ she said.

Losing so many signs definitely adds up.

The larger ones cost about $75. The prices range down to the smaller yard signs at about $5 each.

That doesn’t include the cost of putting them in all over Pasco County.

“It is discouraging when you are out 3 or 4 in the morning putting up your own signs only to see them destroyed,” said Horvath.

In some cases signs are removed because they are private property without permission, or county right of ways.

The stolen signs are rarely reported, but the Pasco Sheriff’s Office said stealing an election sign is considered petty theft and they take these crimes very seriously.

Meanwhile, Horvath and Starkey will fix and replace signs where they can.

They’ve each lost thousands of dollars worth of advertising, all in an effort to win this election.