Voter confronts campaign worker who placed political sign without permission

RAW: Resident captures alleged 'sign squatting' incident

DALLAS - Update: Lisa Luby Ryan sent flowers and a personal note to Jeni Baldwin on Wednesday evening, apologizing for this incident with one of her volunteers.

She didn’t ask for it on her private property but a local voter said a campaign volunteer for Lisa Luby Ryan put a sign on her lawn over the weekend without permission.

Jeni Baldwin, the homeowner and a longtime teacher with the Dallas Independent School District, said Ryan's volunteer placed the sign directly in front of state Rep. Jason Villalba's sign, whom she supports.

Politicos call it sign squatting – placing signs on private property without permission.

Ryan is running against Villalba in the Republican primary for Texas House District 114 on March 6.

“I caught a glimpse of a gigantic white sign on my property," Baldwin said. "I thought, ‘hmmm.’ I looked out and didn’t recognize the name on the sign."

Baldwin said she was able to make it out of her house on time Saturday afternoon to stop the man in a 1993 green Ford Explorer.

“I said, ‘I didn’t ask for that sign,’" she said. "He said, ‘Oh yeah, the homeowner asked for that sign.’ I said, 'This is my house. I’m the homeowner. I didn’t ask for that sign.'”

What’s even more bizarre, the campaign volunteer placed Ryan’s sign directly in front of a Villalba sign.

“I said, 'Why would you even put a sign in front of another sign anyway?'" Baldwin said. "And he said, ‘Because they’re running against each other.'"

Her property is popular with candidates because it's along a high-traffic area at the corner of Beechwood Lane and Midway Road in North Dallas.

Baldwin is the second of several voters who shared a similar story of sign squatting with WFAA.

Baldwin said instead of the volunteer simply removing the unwanted sign and leaving, the situation escalated.

“He refused to take it down after he was told to remove it,” Baldwin said.

Then, she said the volunteer pulled out his mobile phone and took a picture of her, which is when Baldwin went back into her house for hers to record video of the encounter.

“He was very rude, impolite and confrontational,” Baldwin continued.

Ryan’s campaign downplayed the incident in what has become a bitter race.

“This was an honest mistake by a campaign volunteer that was immediately addressed, and the sign was removed within 30 minutes,” said Jordan Powell, a spokesman for the Ryan campaign.

“That’s a 100-percent lie,” Baldwin said.

The volunteer “said to me four times, 'The owner of this home asked me to put this sign up.' I said, ‘I’m the owner of this house and I didn’t ask for it.’”

Even after the sign was removed, Baldwin said she never got an apology from the Ryan campaign.

But the video she captured is more evidence of a passionate primary and what could develop into an eventful election season.

© 2018 WFAA-TV


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