Candidate In Saratoga County Sheriff's Race Files Vandalism Complaints Over Missing Signs

Aug 28, 2013

Jeff Gildersleeve, a Republican candidate in the Saratoga County sheriff’s race, said that hundreds of "Gildersleeve for Sheriff” campaign lawn signs have been damaged or stolen during August.

"We are probably at this point close to 400 sings that are missing overall," said Gildersleeve.

Gildersleeve said the signs cost his campaign around $2.50 a piece – adding up to a loss of about $1,000 for the damaged or missing signs.

Gildersleeve filed vandalism complaints this week with local and state law enforcement agencies after hearing complaints from supporters.

Gary Strothenke, a Wilton resident and supporter of Gildersleeve, said he raised the issue a few days after a sign on his front lawn was damaged while he was out of the house.

"I left my house, everything seemed to be fine, then I came back an hour-and-a-half later and my sign was ripped off the wire hanger," said Strothenke.

Strothenke, who said the sign was the only political sign he’s ever displayed on his property, was disappointed.

"There's no reason to vandalizing anyone else's stuff," said Strothenke.

Mike Zurlo, Gildersleeve’s opponent in Republican primary, said that his campaign has also had signs destroyed or stolen.

"I've had signs destroyed, I've had destroyed signs show up on my front door - I don't condone any of it," Zurlo.

Zurlo said that the disappearance of signs on both sides could be blamed on “overzealous supporters.” He said he also believes some of the signs could be removed for conflicting with local municipal ordinances.

Gildersleeve's campaign said in a release that some supporters have claimed to keep a watchful eye out for vandals. Gildersleeve says he hopes this complaint will put a stop to the vandalism, and is disappointed to see the destruction of private property come with the race.

"I'm not trying get anyone arrested or in trouble, that's not the point," said Gilderlseeve. "I would just like it to cease."

Earlier this month, the two campaigns were cast under the legal spotlight after Zurlo challenged Gildersleeve’s nomination petitions in court, claiming  they were invalid due to possible confusion because Gildersleeve’s son shares his name.

Supreme Court Justice Ann Crowell ruled Gildersleeve’s petitions were valid, giving the go-ahead for Gildersleeve to run in the Republican primary. Primary voters will head to the polls on September 10th to choose their candidate.

The winner will run against Democratic-endorsed candidate Phil Lindsey in the general election.