Politics

Stench of Politics: Texas Congressional Candidate's Smelly Plan To Deter Sign Thieves

Anthony Arredondo, retired Dallas firefighter and volunteer for Sanchez's campaign, spraying skunk essence on one of the campaign signs.
Anthony Arredondo, retired Dallas firefighter and volunteer for Sanchez's campaign, spraying skunk essence on one of the campaign signs. Beth Kitchener
It's a regular complaint from candidates every election: Someone, most likely their wicked opponent, is stealing the candidate's signs from roads and yards. Jana Lynne Sanchez, the Democrat running to represent Texas’ 6th Congressional District, has come up with a plan to fight back. Her campaign recently started spraying road signs with skunk odor and fox urine.

“Almost every day I hear about another road sign being taken,” said Sanchez. “We’re hoping that the skunk spray makes the signs a bit more painful to steal.”

In an email, Sanchez noted that while signs aren't particularly effective advertising for people seeking office — money is better spent on mail and television ads — they're still a traditional tool for candidates to get name recognition. They're not a particularly cheap one either: Sanchez said her campaign spends more than $20 per road sign plus $4 for a post to hold it up.

“We’re hoping that the skunk spray makes the signs a bit more painful to steal.” – Jana Lynne Sanchez

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Sanchez said she placed an order last week for 100 new road signs to replace them as fast as they’re being taken down. But this time, she said she’s ready for the vandals, stocking up on skunk spray and fox urine from Lowe’s and Amazon.

Lowe’s sells fox urine for at least $18 while Amazon has skunk odor for as low as $10. Why do these places sell fox pee and skunk stink? The former is used to drive other wildlife, such as skunks, out of homeowners' yards. The latter is used to bait traps. Hopefully, Sanchez won't spray both on the same sign and wind up with a bunch of emotionally conflicted wildlife roaming about.

Sanchez said she looked into cameras and GPS tracking to find out who the vandals were or where the signs were ending up, but decided skunk spray was more affordable.

“The main focus of my campaign isn’t signs,” said Sanchez. “But in a presumed Republican state or district, the presence of having a yard sign made those wanting to vote Democrat feel better about their decision.”

At least it did. The human mind being a complex thing, we're assuming Sanchez considered the possibility that otherwise loyal Democrats might subconsciously link her name to skunk odor before election and check the wrong box. Usually it's best to get elected before attaching a stink to one's name.
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Nashwa Bawab is an editorial fellow at the Dallas Observer and a recent journalism graduate from The University of Texas at Austin. She's from Arlington and is excited to begin writing important stories from DFW.
Contact: Nashwa Bawab