Manassas Journal Messenger | Vandals deface election signs

Vandals defaced between 20 and 30 signs in front of the the Manassas Republican headquarters on Main Street on Thursday night.

The signs for 50th House District candidate Jackson Miller, Sen. George Allen and the Virginia marriage amendment had words crossed out in black marker and replaced with obscenity in some cases.

The marriage amendment would change the Virginia constitution to define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman, and it would also ban civil unions.

Miller’s opponent, Jeanette Rishell, is condemning the vandalism.

“Vandalism solves nothing,” Rishell said. “It was inexcusable for anyone to engage in this kind of activity.”

The Manassas Republican chair, Steven Thomas, said that on Thursday people at the headquarters had noticed signs were missing.

They simply replaced them.

Between 8:30 and 9 p.m. members of the Bull Run Republican Women’s Club, which meets inside the headquarters, came upon the defaced signs after their meeting.

There were more signs than would usually be in front of the headquarters, so Thomas surmised that the signs were stolen earlier in the day, vandalized elsewhere and then brought back and strewn on the lawn.

“There was profanity and some really hateful things on the signs,” Thomas said.

Some of the milder statements included “Homosexuality is not wrong” written on marriage amendment signs and “Don’t vote for a bigot” on Allen signs. On some of Miller’s signs, “Jackson” was marked out and replaced with “Jackass,” Thomas said.

Miller is not ruffled by the incident.

“You know, it’s just par for the course for political campaigns,” he said. “Obviously, I’m not happy about it, but there is no use crying over spilt milk.”

He did say that the signs aren’t cheap and he isn’t happy that he lost money on them.

Manassas police were called Thursday night and came out to the scene.

Lt. Bill Goodman said extra patrols will be added to the area, but that not much more can be done since there are no witnesses.

“Historically, during political seasons signs are stolen, removed and vandalized,” Goodman said. “There are so many different sides to every issue, there are so many suspects, that it is very difficult to solve.”

He said if somebody is caught they will be charged with destruction of property. Goodman estimates that the damage amounts to less than $1,000, which would make any charge a misdemeanor.

Thomas said that he doesn’t think the vandalism was conducted by order of the Democratic Party, the Rishell campaign or the campaign of Allen’s Democratic opponent Jim Webb, but it does reflect badly on the Republican opposition.

Rishell said that the opposition isn’t to blame.

“I don’t think we can make assumptions based upon the actions of one or two very disturbed people,” she said.

If anyone has information related to this incident, they can call Crime Solvers at (703) 330-0330.


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