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Both major parties frustrated by C.O. campaign sign-stealing, vandalism

'It is both petty and childish'

(Adding parties' comments, video)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With a big election less than 45 days away, political tensions are rising ever higher. Sometimes too high.

Republicans and Democrats across Central Oregon are displaying their allegiances, but some are also experiencing theft and vandalism for publicly proclaiming their preference with signs and the like.

This is nothing new when it comes to an election year, but leaders of both Democrats and Republicans in Deschutes County say the political divisiveness feels more charged than in years past.

Kim Shoop from Bend reached out to NewsChannel 21, saying she had her Biden/Harris sign stolen right in her front yard.

"I grabbed two," she said. "I gave one to my daughter who lives in Redmond, and she thought it was quite ironic that she's got hers in her yard no problem, and here I am in Bend and I get mine ripped off."

The Deschutes Republicans Chair, Mike Kusinska, said Monday out of the 600 signs they've handed out, about 50 have been stolen.

Kusinska said he wants both parties to have their First Amendment rights respected by other.

"We are a nation of laws, and I believe in the rule of law," Kusinska said. "If we let that get away from us, we're going to be no better than a third world country."

Kusinska said he has not personally had any signs stolen or taken down, but his garage was vandalized with spray-painted obscenities last week.

Deschutes Democratic Party Chair Jason Burge shares similar frustrations to the GOP.

He released an official statement to NewsChannel 21 stating: "Both parties deal with upset supporters and candidates when their signs are defaced, destroyed, or stolen. Neither party condones this behavior, as it is both petty and childish. In the end, what's important is that people vote."

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.


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