APOC looks into election sign vandalism incident

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 - 19:00
Candidate’s deputy treasurer printed unwelcome signs

The same business that printed newly elected Anchorage Assemblywoman Amy Demboski’s campaign signs also printed the small signs that were used to vandalize runner-up Pete Mulcahy’s campaign signs.

According to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Nenana Creative Arts printed eight of the “vote democratic” signs that were attached to Mulcahy’s larger signs without Mulcahy’s permission. The business is owned by Joe Law, who was listed as a deputy treasurer in Amy Demboski’s successful bid for an Anchorage Assembly seat.

In an interview April 18, APOC Executive Director Paul Dauphinais said Nenana Creative Arts confirmed they printed the signs, but he couldn’t recall who APOC spoke to.

Because the signs were paid for with $125 in cash, Dauphinais said the business doesn’t have a record of who purchased them.

A call to Nenana Creative Arts owner Joe Law was not returned.

Law’s business printed campaign signs for both Demboski and Mulcahy, including the “vote Republican” additions that Demboski’s campaign attached to several of their own signs.

In an interview April 9, Demboski said when she questioned Law about the “vote democratic” signs, he told her his shop didn’t make them.

Over the past two weeks, Demboski has not responded to repeated requests from the Star for comment.

Because the identity of who purchased the signs is unknown, Dauphinais said there’s nothing more APOC can do.

“If we knew who did it, we’d do some investigation,” he said. “Right now, we’re at a dead end.”

Even if the identity was known, Dauphinais said, it’s unclear who was responsible for attaching them to Mulcahy’s signs.

“Getting them printed is not necessarily a violation,” he said.

Hours before the polls opened April 2, Mulcahy was notified someone had attached small signs that read “vote democratic” to some of his large roadside signs. Mulcahy has filed a police report.

Assembly races are nonpartisan, although both Demboski and Mulcahy portrayed themselves as conservatives during the race.

Aside from the color of the lettering — Demboski’s “vote Republican” signs were printed in red and the “vote democratic” ones in blue — the small signs appeared to be the same size and use the same font.

Demboski said she learned about Mulcahy’s altered signs after seeing one while driving through Eagle River the morning of Election Day.

Two Anchorage radio stations received a photo of one of the signs. According to Mulcahy, Demboski told him she sent the photo to radio host Rick Rydell.

Demboski said she would neither confirm nor deny she sent the photo.

Just after 7 a.m. on April 2, Demboski called in to the Rick Rydell Radio Program and told the host she was “stunned” when she saw Mulcahy’s altered signs. At that point, Demboski said she thought Mulcahy was responsible for the alterations.

Mulcahy was the next caller and told Rydell it was an act of vandalism. Nearly three hours later, Demboski called Mulcahy to discuss the incident.

Demboski said she was convinced Mulcahy was the victim of vandalism after he spoke on Rydell’s show.

Despite the “unfortunate situation,” Mulcahy said he learned a lot about campaigning.

“I would do some things differently, but I’d still stay on the high ground,” he said April 16, the same day Demboski was sworn in as the next Chugiak-Eagle River Assembly member. “I ran an honorable campaign, and the voters chose another course.”

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