In Troy, a rude welcome for a political newcomer

Posted at: 10/14/2013 12:57 AM
Updated at: 10/14/2013 1:37 AM
By: Steve Flamisch

Erin Sullivan-Teta said she was unable to remove the black charcoal or marker from her campaign signs.
Erin Sullivan-Teta said she was unable to remove the black charcoal or marker from her campaign signs.
Photo: Eddie Kadhim / WNYT

TROY -- A grandmother, running for political office for the first time in her life, has filed a police report alleging more than 30 of her campaign signs were vandalized late Thursday or early Friday.

City Council candidate Erin Sullivan-Teta told NewsChannel 13 someone plucked the signs off multiple front lawns in Lansingburgh, and defaced both sides with black marker or charcoal before dumping them at the end of her block. She said only her signs were targeted.

"(It's) very, very disheartening," Sullivan-Teta said Sunday. "But I'm not going to let whoever out there (did this) knock me out of this race. I'm going to just continue on doing what I've been doing for the past few months."

The political newcomer said she is a registered Independent, also running on the Democratic and Working Families party lines. She is one of seven candidates vying for three At-Large seats on the Council.

It is unlikely that any of them is responsible for the vandalism, city Democratic Chairman Jack McCann said.

"It could very well be just some candidate's helper who thinks he's helping his candidate by doing something like this, and you're really not," McCann said. "You're hurting your candidate by doing stuff like this, and I'm sure Mr. Gordon would say the same thing."

City Republican Chairman Jim Gordon, who is running his own campaign against Democrat Suzanne Scales for the city's District 1 Council seat, said he agrees with McCann.

"Someone always, in the back of their mind, has an idea that there's some kind of operative from the other side who wants to play these games," Gordon said. "That may or may not be true, but candidates themselves -- I'll speak for our candidates -- (there's) not even a thought in our minds."

Sullivan-Teta insisted the vandalism is not a publicity stunt, adding that she hopes there is surveillance video of what happened. The mother of six and grandmother of one said she would not wish this on anyone.

"Absolutely not," she said. "I'm just hoping that, all the other candidates out there, I really hope it does not happen to any of you."

Incumbent City Council President Lynn Kopka and Rodney Wiltshire are the other Democrats vying for the three At-Large seats. John Cubit, Carmella Mantello, and Joe White are the three Republican candidates. Jessica Ashley is running on the Green Party line.