Mayoral race marked by damaged and negative signs

As sure as political signs go up every election season, some signs get torn down.

We rarely write news articles about sign vandalism unless someone is charged with removing or defacing a political advertisement (a misdemeanor) or something strange happens, like a  candidate has stolen signs returned, unharmed.

But this is a politics blog, where we have lower standards of what constitutes news. Mayor Tim Leavitt has expressed frustration on his Facebook page about his signs being damaged and defaced. A front-page story? No. A blog post? Yes.

Stephanie Turlay, wife of challenger and Councilor Bill Turlay, emailed me photographs earlier this month of a damaged Turlay sign. She said four signs had been damaged.


The photographs had been sent to her by campaign volunteer John Ley, who wrote that “some Leavitt supporters apparently had a field day,” on the signs at state Highway 14 and 164th Avenue, as the metal frames were bent. As Stephanie Turlay wrote to me, “the wind could not have done this. Seems as though Leavitt’s ‘minions’ are busy being deliberately destructive. Perhaps it’s time to ask Mr. Leavitt what he thinks about this type of action and what he intends to do about it, if anything! I would also be curious to know what he thinks we should do if this action continues throughout the campaign!” she wrote.

Leavitt said the damage was not done by anyone on his team. He said he has made it clear to his campaign volunteers that he will take the high road leading up to the Nov. 5 election, knowing he would be the target of negative ads. And Leavitt has had damage to his signs, too. Some have been torn down, while others have been spray-painted with the word “liar,” which fits with the nickname (“Tim ‘The Liar’ Leavitt”) given to him by his critics. (Detractors also call him “One Term Tim”).

Here’s a trashed Leavitt sign:


There’s no way of knowing who damaged any of the signs unless the someone confesses. But before we leave the topic of signs, here’s a picture I was emailed of a Turlay supporter’s truck parked outside of Vancouver City Hall. The truck belongs to Dick Sohn, who has donated $900 to Turlay’s campaign, according to the state public disclosure commission.


Stephanie Rice

Stephanie Rice

I cover Vancouver city government. Reach me at or 360-735-4508.

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