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Sign-stealing allegations in Alaska's political season

Amanda CoyneThe New York Times
Aaron Jansen illustration

It’s election season, and just as predictably as political candidates who voted for the bloated Alaska state budget, they will stump on fiscal responsibility. Just as predictably as they will vow to keep taxes low in the only state in the country that has no broad-based tax, so too will there be allegations of yard-sign theft.

Alaska's primary election is Aug. 28, and there will likely be allegations to come, but the opening salvo came from incumbent Republican state Sen. Lesil McGuire, who all but accused her Republican challenger, Jeff Landfield, of stealing numerous signs around Anchorage.

McGuire said that more than $1,700 of 4-by-8-foot signs were stolen. Such theft would require a “coordinated and deliberate effort,” she claimed. She went as far as to file a report about the theft with the Anchorage Police Department.

Landfield vigorously denied he’s been stealing signs. “It is unfortunate when a sitting state senator accuses someone of a felony without any proof whatsoever,” Landfield said. “Is this the kind of person we want representing Alaska in the Legislature?”

Here are the dueling press releases from McGuire and Landfield:

McGuire’s press release:

Over the past weekend multiple campaign signs were stolen from different properties around the Anchorage area including the Anchorage Police Department Employee Associations’ hall. The Lesil McGuire for State Senate campaign filed a police report today detailing the locations, number and value of the signs that were taken.

“In campaigns it is often common for an individual sign to blow over or bebroken in some petty act of vandalism,” said Lesil McGuire. “But to have several large signs, from different locations across the Anchorage bowl and their stands go missing clearly shows a coordinated and deliberate effort.”

The signs that were stolen are large, four foot by eight foot signs with solid wooden frames that are anchored with sandbags and are valued at more than $1700 dollars.“These aren’t the type of sign that you just put in a yard,” said Lesil McGuire. “They require a big truck and a couple of people to simply place them.”

Lesil McGuire is being challenged for State Senate District K by Jeff Landfield in the upcoming Republican primary election on August 28th. “I’m extremely disappointed that people would stoop to this level,” said Lesil McGuire. “At the core of the Tea Party movement and the Republican Party platform is a deep respect for private property rights. We, as candidates, always have a responsibility to lead by example and make it clear to our volunteers or supporters that their actions reflect on our campaigns and the principles we intend to bring to public office.

Landfield’s press release:

Jeff Landfield has recently been accused by Senator Lesil McGuire of stealing her campaign signs. Senator McGuire admits she has no evidence whatsoever that Jeff Landfield had anything to do with the alleged theft of the signs.

“It is unfortunate when a sitting State Senator accuses someone of a felony without any proof whatsoever,” Landfield, said. “Is this the kind of person we want representing Alaska in the legislature? The decision to waste the time and resources of the APD - to look for her signs -shows the flawed decision-making process that Senator McGuire uses as a legislator -wastefully spending other people’s money and resources to benefit herself. I believe this is a tactic designed to distract people from the issues facing Alaska and Senator McGuire’s deplorable spending and taxing record.”

Senator McGuire has not responded to several inquiries to debate Jeff Landfield on the issues facing Alaska and Senate District K. “Senator McGuire continues her attempts to distract voters from the real issues – spending, taxes and jobs – issues Senator McGuire has a terrible record on.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amanda(at)alaskadispatch.com