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Crandall, Fillmore spar over sign removal

Arizona Senate candidate Rep. John Fillmore claims this photo shows the daughter of his opponent, Sen. Rich Crandall, illegally removing Fillmore's campaign sign from a Mesa corner. (Submitted photo)

Two Republican legislators running for the same Senate seat are accusing each other of lying after a third GOP lawmaker caught Sen. Rich Crandall’s daughter taking down one of Rep. John Fillmore’s campaign signs.

The dust-up over the signs led Fillmore to file a criminal complaint Wednesday with the Mesa Police Department against Crandall’s teenage daughter and her friend.

“(He is a) lying SOB, trying to make a story where there isn’t one,” Crandall said about Fillmore. “For him to attack my daughter and her friend is just low.”

Crandall said Fillmore hung his sign on Crandall’s signposts after the senator’s sign was blown away during a thunderstorm. He said he told his daughter to remove Fillmore’s sign and replace it with one of his own.

“I wanted to put my sign back up,” he said. “Just because someone’s sign blew down doesn’t mean you can put your signs on their poles. That was the first violation.”

But Fillmore vehemently disputed Crandall’s version of events.

“As God as my witness, I would say that is not true. I hammered those poles in myself a month ago. Mr. Crandall has never had a sign on that corner,” he said.

Fillmore said he was notified Wednesday by Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, that one of his signs was being taken down. Barton and her husband took pictures and video of the teenage girls removing Fillmore’s sign and replacing it with Crandall’s.

She told Arizona Capitol Times that she happened to be in Mesa for a doctor’s appointment when she saw two girls messing around with Fillmore’s sign. She said she stopped and asked what they were doing. When they said they were taking it down and putting up one of Crandall’s, she told them that was illegal.

Barton said that, when she asked them if they had gotten Fillmore’s permission to take the signs down, they responded that the poles were Crandall’s.

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God, do you have Crandall’s name on the poles there?’” Barton said.

Removing campaign signs during election season is a class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to four months in jail. However, state law appears to limit prosecution to actions that occur within 45 days of the primary election.

The July 11 incident involving Crandall’s daughter occurred 48 days before the election.

Crandall said he is not concerned that his daughter will face criminal charges.

“When the police come and ask, I’ll tell them the same thing I just told you,” he said.

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