Local Democrats, Republicans reporting dirty politics involving campaign signs

Both parties have seen candidates' signs disappearing, being damaged

Tensions from the campaign trail appear to be playing out on the streets and in neighborhoods all over town.
Tensions from the campaign trail appear to be playing out on the streets and in neighborhoods all over town.

SAN ANTONIO – Tensions from the campaign trail appear to be playing out on the streets and in neighborhoods all over town.

Representatives from both sides of the political aisle say they have heard reports of dirty politics from supporters—people who have found their yard signs were either stolen or damaged.

North Side man believes politically motivated vandal who targeted home is becoming more dangerous

“They slice them. They deface them. They put horns on the individual’s candidates,” said Jesus Toro Martinez who is with Precinct 4 of the Bexar County Democratic Party.

Both sides say they have seen signs that are cut up, spray-painted with graffiti or torn down. (KSAT 12 News)

For weeks, Martinez has been placing some of the larger campaign signs along the roadways.

He says they also have been tough to keep in place due to vandals who seem to have opposing viewpoints.

The signs featuring Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s name, he says, seem to draw the most ire.

“I don’t know why there’s just this divisiveness and hatred that comes through,” Martinez said.

Those feelings appear to know no political bounds.

Michael Murillo-Zuniga, the executive director of the Republican Party of Bexar County, said he has heard just as many stories of sign thefts and damage.

“People are getting closer and closer to people’s homes, running up and taking their flags directly from their porches,” he said. “We’ve also had some other issues where homeowners' children have been given letters about how racist their parents are for having Trump signs.”

Both Murillo-Zuniga and Martinez said there appear to be more of these attacks during this campaign season than ever before.

While some people may think of it as a harmless prank, defacing or stealing a sign actually is a crime.

Depending the amount of the damage, it could bring serious consequences.

The San Antonio Police Department does not keep a running total solely on this type of crime.

A spokeswoman says instead, they would fall into the criminal mischief or theft categories.

Figures show a slight increase in criminal mischief cases between January 1 and September 30 of this year, as compared to the same time last year.

Theft cases during the same time period actually have declined slightly.

It is possible, however, that not all of the victims are reporting what sometimes is perceived as a very minor crime.

While they may not agree when it comes to politics, both parties' representatives say they are hoping for unity to return.

“Where neighbor and neighbor can talk about politics without getting so divisive,” Murillo-Zuniga said.

About the Authors:

Katrina Webber was born and raised in Queens, NY, but after living in Gulf Coast states for the past decade, she feels right at home in Texas.

Tim has been a photojournalist and video editor at KSAT since 1998. He came to San Antonio from Lubbock, where he worked in TV and earned his bachelor's degree in Electronic Media and Communication from Texas Tech University. Tim has won a handful of awards and has earned a master's in Strategic Communication and Innovation from Tech as well.