A number of campaign signs were discovered missing from where Democratic candidates Randy Bryce and Melissa Lemke say they put them over the course of several weeks.
Bryce and Lemke are the Democratic candidates for the 62nd State Assembly District, which includes Caledonia, the northern part of Racine and a small part of Mount Pleasant. Between the two of them, they’ve lost more than 80 signs.
Tom Weatherston, Village Board member and the Republican candidate for the 62nd State Assembly District, said he didn’t know anything about the missing signs, but said when he first started his political career he lost a lot of signs because he was putting them in the road right of way.
“I lost some signs that way and I had to get them from County,” Weatherston said.
Mark Balwinski, who works on Bryce’s campaign, said they put up the signs three weeks ago and a week later about 20 were taken. He put up some of the new signs two weeks ago and some late yesterday afternoon. Sometime between 1 and 3 p.m. this afternoon they disappeared.
“We drove around the area and today we lost about 50 signs, and 70 to 80 in total,” Balwinski said.
Bryce hasn’t filed a police report with the Caledonia Police Department because three weeks ago he was told that the homeowner would need to file the police report.
Balwinski said he also checked with the Village ordinance regarding where the signs could be placed. Two weeks ago he also checked with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department to see if they had their signs, but they didn’t. The Department also hadn’t received any complaints at that time, Balwinski said.
“Caledonia has an ordinance and I looked at it,” Balwinski said. “We were fine because we were well beyond the shoulder. Some had been legitimately removed. But AFSCME, the union that the Racine County Highway Department workers are in, endorsed him and I don’t see them just taking those signs from their union brother.”
Tom House, who lives on Highway 31 near Six Mile Road, said the signs Bryce put in his yard were taken twice, once about two weeks ago and the second time today. The second time, the signs had been out in his yard for two weeks.
“I didn’t file a police report because… I just didn’t,” he said. “But I think it’s ridiculous that people should play fair. I also don’t want people in my yard.”
Bryce condemned whoever is taking the signs.
“Both parties shouldn’t be resorting to criminal activity to show your support for candidate,” he said.
Lemke has also had some of her signs taken.
One was missing from outside her campaign office on LaSalle Street and some had been missing along Douglas Avenue.
“At this point, I don’t know if it’s one or 81 that we are missing,” she said. “But we went out to staple ‘Vote today’ signs on them and we did notice some missing.”
One woman who lived on Four Mile Road told Lemke that she could put a sign in front of her house and Lemke did.
“The woman called two days later and asked why I hadn’t put them up,” Lemke said. “I put it super close to the road though, so maybe someone thought twice about having it or it could have been the County. I don’t know.”