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October 30, 2012

Many political signs become airborne menaces

Campaigns, candidates press for removal

Next to downed power lines and falling trees, they were one of the most dangerous things whipping around in Sandy’s powerful winds: Political signs.

It gives new meaning to the term “attack ads.”

“Depending on the kind of sign you have, it’s either a wood stake or steel bar,” said Congressman Frank Guinta, R-N.H. “Either one of those, upended, could potentially injure somebody.”

Alerts put out by campaign offices and candidates yesterday asked supporters to pack up the signs as winds from Hurricane Sandy picked up speed.

Reasons for packing up front-yard support were numerous yesterday, as the storm approached New Jersey. With winds in the Boston area often hitting 60 mph, Republican supporters at the Derry Victory Office on West Broadway took down people-sized signs with names like Downing, Rausch and Guinta on them.

Barry Finegold, the Democratic incumbent in Massachusetts’ 2nd Essex Senate district, said there was another reason beyond safety for taking the signs down — they could blow onto a neighbor’s property.

“A lot of them are in the ground, and they’re sturdy and not very heavy, but they can be more of a nuisance than a danger,” Finegold said. “They’re not inexpensive. We’d love people to try to put them in the house and put them back out after the storm.”

Colin Gately, press secretary for the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said the party’s primary concern moving through the storm was “making sure that folks are safe.”

“We’re telling folks, ‘If you can get out there, take down your lawn signs,’” Gately said. “Whether it be a deck chair or anything like that that’s not firmly secured down, things can take off in high winds.”

The storm is having limited effects on the election season, with the general election a week away. Margaret Toomey, city clerk in Haverhill, said election-related efforts in the city haven’t been hampered much by the storm.

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