Courtesy of South Windsor Democrats

A vulgar and racist cardboard sign in South Windsor prompted reproach from state Democrats and Republicans after a local official this week discovered his political signs had been replaced with slurs and expletives. 

The sign, scrawled crudely on a scrap of cardboard, attacked President Joe Biden and included a racial slur directed at Vice President Kamala Harris. Much of the message purported to support former President Donald Trump.

Someone stuck the sign in the yard of Steve Wagner, a member of the town Planning and Zoning Commission who is running for re-election on the Democratic ticket. Wagner said the incident followed the disappearance of campaign signs that had been in his yard last week. When the traditional signs went missing, he posted a handwritten message soliciting information on where they’d gone. That message too, was stolen and in its place Wednesday was a vulgar replacement.

“It was pretty offensive,” Wagner said Thursday. “That was the point at which I decided to call the police.”

In a Wednesday press release, state Democratic chair Nancy DiNardo condemned the message.

“Vandalizing campaign signs is old news. But replacing them with hateful, racist signs is a new low in political discourse. The vile messages posted by Trump supporters on South Windsor lawns should be condemned by every rational and thoughtful person,” DiNardo said. “My Democratic colleagues and I condemn this hate, and I call on my Republican counterparts to do the same. Be the leaders you were elected to be. Donald Trump didn’t win the 2020 election. Stand up and say so, and help stop this destructive and offensive behavior now.”

In an email, Ben Proto, state Republican chair, condemned the sign but questioned whether it was placed in the yard by Republicans. 

“I both personally and as chair of the CT Republican Party condemn this language and these actions. This has no place in our discourse be it political or otherwise,” Proto said. “Unfortunately it seems that Chairwoman DiNardo has once again jumped to a conclusion that a Republican was involved as she did in Southbury a few months ago with no proof. Regardless of the political affiliation of the person or persons who did this CT Republicans call upon all Candidates and their supporters to engage in a discussion of issues of importance to the citizens of their towns.”

Although the original campaign signs were eventually located, stuffed in a storm drain, the South Windsor Democratic Town Committee was offering a $500 reward for information about the identity of the person responsible for stealing an “unprecedented number” of lawn signs in town, according to the committee’s Twitter account.