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Few campaign signs in heated presidential primary

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 April 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – This sign in support of Bernie Sanders is placed in a front yard on Park Avenue in Medina. It’s one of the few political signs out despite a heated primary season.

It may be a heated primary and a rare chance in New York for a spirited presidential race, but you wouldn’t know it driving around Orleans County. There are few signs for presidential candidates out on front lawns.

Local Republican and Democratic leaders haven’t ordered signs. The few that are out have been picked up at candidate rallies or purchased by local residents.

Ed Morgan, the Orleans County Republican Party chairman, said federal election laws require reporting by the local parties if they spend on the presidential race. He didn’t want to be committed to the lengthy paperwork if the party bought signs or placed ads.

“We’d have to file a federal campaign contribution form,” Morgan said.

He and the GOP Committee have endorsed Donald Trump for president. They made Orleans County one of the first counties in New York to endorse Trump.

Morgan said Trump has a strong following locally, even if there aren’t many signs in front lawns. He said he expects more signs will go out before the vote Tuesday as signs are distributed from Buffalo and Rochester sites trying to get out the vote for Trump.

There are also a few signs out in the county in support of John Kasich and Ted Cruz, who are seeking the Republican nomination.

A Barre resident on Route 98 has a sign out in support of John Kasich.

Morgan is traveling to New York City today for the State Republican Committee annual gala where the three presidential candidates are expected to speak. All three are making a hard push for votes in New York.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton also are in a tight race for the Democratic nomination. There aren’t very many signs out for them, either.

Jeanne Crane, the Democratic Party chairwoman, said a few of the Sanders and Clinton supporters have bought signs and put them out, although some of the Clinton signs appear to have been stolen. Morgan said some of the Trump signs also have been snatched.

Crane said she didn’t push to hard to get signs out when she noticed there were so few Republican ones.

“If they’re not too worried about it, then I’m not,” she said.

Crane and the Orleans County Democratic Party Committee last week voted to endorse Clinton for president. It wasn’t unanimous. Sanders has some support on the committee.

Crane said she has backed Clinton since 2000, when Clinton (then the first lady) ran successfully for the U.S. Senate, representing New York.

Crane said Clinton stands out among all of the candidates for her experience, particularly with foreign policy.

“She’s better prepared,” Crane said.

Although they won’t be pushing for yard signs for candidates, Crane said she and the Democratic Party leaders will be making phone calls, urging local Democrats to back Clinton on Tuesday.