The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 8, 2012

Ashtabula County Democrats begin process of collecting and storing campaign signs

Star Beacon

— Ashtabula County’s Democratic candidates had good reason to kick back and celebrate on Wednesday — they scored a number of wins on Tuesday. But rather than spend the day resting, many of them, along with their campaign people, hit the county’s highways and byways in search of political signs.

John Patterson, 99th District representative-elect, said he had several crews out on Wednesday collecting signs from his campaign as well as those of other Democratic candidates.

“I’ll be out there later,” said Patterson, who had about 2,000 signs in circulation.

Many of the political signs have a metal wire frame with the plastic sign stretched over it. The design allows the candidate to recycle the metal part or offer it to another candidate.

“We try to be environmentally responsible,” Patterson said.

Many of those signs end up in a pole barn owned by John Mead, treasurer of the county Democratic Party, and his wife, Carol, clerk of courts.

“We put all the signs in my barn and the garages of other candidates,” Mead said. He expected to find thousands of those signs waiting for him on the concrete apron of the building when he got home from work Wednesday.

“I’ll go out and segregate the signs by candidate,” Mead said. “It’s something I enjoy doing. It’s good for the party, for the candidates and for the citizens who were good enough to let us put our signs in their yards, so we want to pick them up as soon as possible.”

With the typical political sign costing $2, and Mead being the party treasurer, it’s understandable why he is willing to give up most of the space in his barn for the effort.

Some candidates design their signs so they can be used for multiple elections. Others can update a sign from a previous campaign by adding a sticker with a different date or language, such as “re-elect” for an incumbent.

He said a candidate who is short on cash and needs just a few signs may borrow the wire frames from the stash of a candidate who is not in a race or chose not to run.

Mead said they pick up and store only signs that were for candidates of their party.