When Gila County supervisor candidate Hallie Overman-Jackman’s campaign sign went missing from in front of a local real estate office, she didn’t really expect she’d find it in the dumpster behind the Republican headquarters. But she did — Tuesday night after a charity dinner.
On a whim, Overman-Jackman’s husband had suggested they look in the Republican dumpster after the bright green and yellow sign went missing Tuesday morning.
When they reached into a black bag of trash, Overman-Jackman said she was shocked to find her sign, nestled amongst food scrapes and Republican e-mails.
Even more surprised was Don Ascoli, Northern Gila County Republican Party chair, who stood on and watched in horror as she unearthed the sign.
Ascoli said it must all be a big mistake. Overman-Jackman cried campaign sabotage and called the police. It is a crime to tamper with campaign signs.
Turns out, the whole thing now looks like a big blunder.
After a little detective work, Ascoli said he thinks the whole incident will prove a lot more innocent than it first appeared.
For some time, campaign signs had been appearing and disappearing from a small patch of grass out front of the Keller Williams Arizona Realty office at 611 S. Beeline Highway.
Overman-Jackman says she has written permission from the owner to post signs on the patch of private property.
After her sign and everyone else’s mysteriously disappeared earlier this week, Overman-Jackman’s husband decided to put up another one.
Although removing political signs is a crime, they often go missing. At least 15 of the 120 signs Overman-Jackman put up have vanished.
Supervisor Tommie Martin, who is running for re-election against Overman-Jackman, said a number of her signs have also disappeared or been deliberately knocked over.
Signs for sheriff candidate Adam Shepherd have also disappeared.
So early Tuesday morning, Overman-Jackman’s husband reposted a campaign sign.
By 10 a.m., he noticed the sign was missing again.
“I thought, ‘isn’t this interesting,’” she said.
Later that night, Overman-Jackman’s husband suggested they check the Republican dumpster. Overman-Jackman is an Independent, while Martin is a Republican. Overman-Jackman said she agreed just to appease her husband’s curiosity.
“It was just unbelievable that someone would do something so stupid as to put it in their trash,” she said.
They should have called and asked me to pick up the sign if they had removed it, she said.
Overman-Jackman said she has removed a number of campaign signs from her private property. When she did, she always notified the candidate so they could pick it up.
Ascoli offered his own account of the case of the missing sign. He said that a volunteer noticed other signs missing from in front of the property and called owner Steve Cantrill.
Cantrill told the volunteer he could put up new signs, but that he should take down Overman-Jackman’s signs, since he’s a Republican, Ascoli said.
The Republican volunteer took down Overman-Jackman’s sign and left it in a back room at Republican headquarters.
When another round of volunteers came in later and put the sign in the trash “not understanding sensitivity rules,” Ascoli said. “They should have called Hallie and let her know we had the sign,” he added.
Ascoli said he was sorry about the incident and would apologize to Overman-Jackman.
“It was nothing malicious,” he said.
For Realtor Kim Ross, who leases space in the office, the election cannot come soon enough. She finds the signs a nuisance and an eyesore.
“It gets a little overwhelming since they take away from our sign,” she said. “All you see is campaign signs and it looks a little bit trashy.”