Campaign Signs Vandalized in 43rd District

Campaign Signs Vandalized in 43rd District

Vandals target delegates’ signs along Franconia Road.

<bt>Along Franconia Road, a spray-painter was at work on Del. Tom Bolvin's (R-43rd) campaign signs, putting a black mark on the contested state delegate's race.

The sign is in the yard of Nan Morrow, a supporter of Bolvin's, who gave Bolvin permission to put the sign on her property. The paint appeared on the sign mysteriously.

"These are the only ones I've seen," Morrow said. "Some lady from Tom's office dropped by and asked me if I'd seen anything."

That "lady" was Julie Dime, campaign manager at Bolvin's office. The whole corridor between Springfield Mall to Fleet Drive has not been friendly territory for Bolvin's signs, according to Dime.

"We cannot keep a sign up. That stretch has been extremely targeted," Dime said.

They first noticed the black spray-paint on Friday, Oct. 3, but their sign vandalism wasn't limited to paint. Other signs were taken down and thrown in the bushes nearby or taken off the sign pole completely. This happened along the Springfield-Franconia Parkway parallel to Franconia Road as well.

"They can actually still be seen in the bushes," Dime said.

A jogger passed by the spray-painted signs. He wasn't familiar with Bolvin but was against the vandalism.

"It's no good," he said. "If you don't believe in somebody, it's not the way to do it."

"I don't believe it's anyone in the neighborhood," Morrow said. She's lived in the house along Franconia Road since 1956.

At first glance, the vandalism may seem like the work of one of the supporters of Bolvin's opponent, Mark Sickles (D). Dime did speak with Sickles' campaign manager, Jordan Karp, early in the race. The two agreed not to incorporate methods like this.

Karp was aware of the vandalized signs but did not encourage this type of activity.

"We're not associated with that," Karp said. "We're not campaigning like that. This is not a sign war. We have a lot bigger things to work on than Tom Bolvin's signs."

Bolvin's signs were not the only ones that were vandalized, though. Karp noticed some of Sickles' signs along Franconia Road, Telegraph Road and in the Manchester Lakes area that were vandalized. He said approximately 100 Mark Sickles signs were disturbed.

"You could see a few on the ground next to the stakes," he said.

Fairfax County electoral manager Judy Flaig has received a few calls in the past about campaign signs. Even some homeowners associations took the signs down on common property. That recently happened in Kingstowne.

"It depends on what the rules of the association are," Flaig said.

She has had accusations from candidates as well.

"Once in a while, we'll get a candidate that says the opposition is taking them down," Flaig said. "Usually, their strategy is to put a sign up right in front of the other candidate's."