Stockton City Council Candidate’s Campaign Signs Vandalized

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STOCKTON -- Nastiness comes in all forms during the campaign season. Theft and vandalism are nothing new during the election cycle. But it's also a crime.

Sam Fant, a District 6 candidate for city council, said his signs in particular the last few weeks are being targeted, which forces him to take them down.

"We're up to nine signs now that have come down now off people's property," said Fant. "It's very disheartening because people want to exercise their constitutional right and their freedom of expression by supporting their candidate, or candidates, on their property or on their business."

While their true value is debatable, politicians believe they are better off with campaign signs than without. When those signs  are forced to come down, it represents a lost opportunity, lost time to replace it, and for small campaigns, a significant financial hit.

"It runs roughly about $100 per sign, and so now we're up to nine as of today, so that's over $900 and that's not including all the time and energy it takes to put up a sign.

Most often, it doesn't have anything to do specifically with the candidate. Rather, it's an overzealous campaign supporter or kids.

"They may feel that this is a way to potentially help their candidate out and at the same time destroying, or disrupting, or defacing the opponent's property or signs," explained Fant. "However, I know full and well signs don't win elections, people do."

But there may be one more motive in regard to Sam Fant. He's facing felony charges of election fraud from his job on the Manteca Unified School Board. So, could this have anything to do with those charges?

"I doubt it," said Fant. "I was facing that same issue during the primary and that's a smaller district in Western Ranch and south Stockton and was able to be successful during that process ... and I didn't have as much damage or stolen signs as I am having now.

Fant explained to FOX40 that he is innocent of those charges and expects to be exonerated. He also expects to come up victorious on election night, which is less than four weeks away.