SARATOGA COUNTY – Someone waited until Tuesday’s election was over, and then got maybe a little over-zealous on political campaign signs at the Route 9 railroad overpass near Saratoga Springs’ Maple Avenue Middle School.
Campaign signs for Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and state Sen. Daphne Jordan were struck by unknown vandals who spray-painted them and also tagged the railroad bridge with an obscene message about “fascists.” There was also a message praising “antifa,” the loosely organized radical movement against fascism.
In a year when the political debate is already fraught, the presidential election remains undecided and deep divisions have been revealed across society, local Republican officials were hesitant to say much about the attack on their candidates’ signs. The persons who committed the vandalism remain unknown, and it does not appear a police report had been filed.
The defaced Stefanik sign pictured her with President Donald Trump, whom she has supported through his impeachment. She co-chaired Trump’s New York campaign, and Trump won her 21st Congressional District, even though Democrat Joe Biden easily won New York state.
Stefanik campaign spokeswoman Maddie Anderson said Wednesday that campaign vandalism this year was “absolutely” worse than in the past, pointing to a September press release in which the Stefanik campaign said people were caught on surveillance cameras damaging her signs. On Tuesday, Stefanik easily defeated her Democratic challenger, Tedra Cobb.
Charles Foehser, the town of Wilton Republican Committee chairman, believes the type of vandalism is one of the reasons Republicans did well in many local races.
“I just think the reason why Republicans had such a good showing yesterday is that people are tired of this,” Foehser said. “We had a great showing yesterday, a lot of positives came out of this.”
“Saratoga County Republicans really had a tremendous night last night,” said Saratoga County Republican Chairman Carl Zeilman. “We re-elected two state senators and elected a Family Court judge and congresswoman in Elise Stefanik. We’re ready to go to work and put this election behind us. Of the signs, I’ll say, there is no place for that in politics at all.”
In Queensbury, meanwhile, an Election Day argument over a campaign sign turned physical and led to one man’s arrest, Warren County Sheriff’s officials said.
The incident happened near Lake Luzerne Road, officials said. It started as a verbal argument, but soon escalated into a physical altercation where one man was accused of kneeing another man in the face, causing visible injuries, officials said. Deputies didn’t say which candidate’s sign the argument was about.
Officials identified the man arrested as Robert J. Hogan, 57, of Queensbury. He faces one count of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor. Hogan was released on an appearance ticket.
Staff writer Steven Cook contributed to this story.