Campaign signs taken

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As election season gets into full swing, one municipal judge candidate is feeling what dirty politics is like.

Los Lunas Municipal Judge Henry Perea, who was appointed to the bench a year and a half ago, says someone is targeting his run for office by vandalizing and stealing his campaign signs.

"Initially, I was angry," Perea said. "I felt frustrated that someone would do this to me. But I think this will make me a better candidate because it will drive me to push my message harder."

Perea began putting up his campaign signs, which he said his 10-year-old son helped design, on Jan. 11 in different areas of the village. But last week, he noticed that one of his 4-by-8 foot signs had been torn down and ripped in two and another had been taken.

Another 4-by-4 foot sign he had placed on a resident's property was taken, along with the posts it was on. He said another, smaller sign had been stolen from a friend's frontyard.

Perea has three opponents in the race for judge — Eulogio E.J. Jaramillo, Frank Alex Gonzales Jr. and Avilio Chavez — but he wants to make it clear that he's not pointing any fingers at his challengers.

"I don't know who is responsible for this," he said, "but I do believe I'm being targeted. I don't know if it's someone who has come before me in the courtroom and who didn't like my decision, or someone else."

Perea did report the theft and vandalism to the Los Lunas Police Department, and he said he's learned that no other candidate in the village has reported similar circumstances with their campaign signs. In the meantime, Perea has ordered more signs and has a couple extra in storage just in case.

When asked if he could send a message to whoever is responsible for the damage and theft of his signs, he said, "This is totally wrong. We live in a democracy where we all have an opportunity to run for office. I just want to run a good, clean election. If they want to play dirty politics, don't turn to vandalism and don't become a criminal. Whoever did this isn't just vandalizing and stealing, but they're also trespassing on people's property."


-- Email the author at cgarcia@news-bulletin.com.