MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - As the Mobile mayoral race heats up, tensions among some supporters are high.
Mayoral and city council candidates said they have seen an increase in campaign signs destroyed, removed, or replaced with signs of their challengers.
“It gets very frustrating. I mean the election is over in eight days,” said Jesse Eldridge, who has had campaign signs stolen from his yard at least five times in the month of August. “Don't try to force me to vote for someone else or force me to campaign for someone I don't want to.”
Eldridge said surveillance cameras on his property along Navco Road caught what appears to be the same woman replacing signs for Sandy Stimpson with Mayor Sam Jones signs on numerous occasions.
He said it started happening so often, he would stake out the property to try and catch the campaign crook in action.
“The first time I kind of blew it off. I said, ‘Well, she doesn't know. She didn't know any better.’ The second time I said, ‘Well this is aggravating but I still don't think she knows any better - she's older,’” said Eldridge. “The third time I said, 'No, this is just malicious.'”
Councilman John Williams’ campaign sign was also among those removed from Eldridge’s property.
Williams said all candidates deal with similar problems involving their advertisements.
He believes the culprits are just over-excited supporters.
“It is part of what goes on. It’s very difficult for me to relocate those people and put the signs back out,” said Williams. “I would not do the without permission again but I’ve had several calls where signs have disappeared and I’ve been asked to come out and replace them.”
The unidentified woman replaced Williams’ sign with challenger Tim Burnett.
Eldridge said, upon learning about the incidents, Burnett identified the woman through video and instructed his supporters that he ‘did not want to run that kind of campaign’.
Eldridge said Burnett even replaced Williams’ old sign as a show of good faith.
Police said any person stealing or replacing campaign signs could be charged with trespassing and theft.
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