Less than 24 hours after they were put up along a busy street in Old Lyme, two large signs promoting Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski were defaced with red graffiti, according to property owner J. David Kelsey.
Kelsey, who co-founded the Old Lyme-based real estate private-equity investment company Hamilton Point Investments LLC, is a Republican currently serving as chairman of the town’s Board of Finance. Kelsey also funded the launch in 2019 of the CTExaminer, and in February he contributed $500,000 to the launch of a Super PAC that is supporting Stefanowski’s campaign.
He said the signs were installed on his land around 2 p.m. Saturday and on Sunday were found defaced.
“It’s a little disappointing,” Kelsey said. He added that it doesn’t rise to the level of a death threat, but the manner in which people are manifesting their problems with candidates is disappointing.
Kelsey said he reported the incident to the State Police. Old Lyme has a resident state trooper that serves the area, but no one answered the phone at the office regarding the complaint Sunday.
The graffiti on one sign appears to say Stafenowski “hates women” and inserts the word “Hell” in place of governor. The other sign was changed to read Stefanowski “Sucks Trump [expletive].”
The Stefanowski campaign responded with a statement: “This is what happens when a sitting governor tries to scare women across the state by demonizing me with lies about my position to support a woman’s right to choose.”
He asked Lamont to “stop exploiting the genuine emotions of women for political gain before someone takes this beyond defacing signs. Our state deserves better from its governor.”
Lamont’s campaign said these types of actions have no place in Connecticut “and they don’t reflect the values we know are shared by the residents of our state. We don’t support or endorse any actions that seek to intimidate or threaten anyone. We will continue to campaign on the issues that matter to voters and in a way where everyone feels safe.”
Kelsey said the incident is a manifestation of the division in Connecticut, in a town where they are just trying to get stuff done in a nonpartisan manner.
Aside from his current role on the Board of Finance, Kelsey also previously served as chairman of Old Lyme’s Republican Town Committee.