About two dozen political campaign signs for Patrick L. McDonough are missing in Anne Arundel County, and the outspoken Republican candidate for Maryland's 3rd District congressional seat smells a conspiracy.
"It's an un-American act. Thieves in the night trespassing on individual properties," said McDonough, who reported the missing signs to Anne Arundel County Police. They disappeared from private and public properties Friday night or Saturday morning.
Police said they are investigating. State highway officials, who will remove illegally placed signs from public areas, said they have no record of signs being removed by their workers Friday night.
McDonough, who has run an aggressive grass-roots campaign against heavily favored incumbent Benjamin L. Cardin, said he suspects a Cardin sympathizer drove around Linthicum, Severn and Odenton loading the signs on a truck. He said his campaign workers have put up 1,000 signs in the Baltimore area and that he believes the high visibility is rattling Cardin supporters.
"I don't think Ross Perot or Bob Ehrlich [the representative from the 2nd Congressional District] would be tearing my signs down," McDonough said. "I think Cardin has a responsibility to denounce it and to disavow it. He's the captain of the ship, and it's his ship that's causing the problem."
Cardin, a Democrat, was not available for comment yesterday. Susan Sullam, his press secretary, called the sign thefts "unfortunate" and said the congressman "would take a dim view of it."
"People who place signs on their lawns should be able to express their views in a public way without having to worry about theft or vandalism," Sullam said. "It's certainly not right."
John Loughlin, a campaign coordinator for McDonough who helped distribute the campaign signs in Anne Arundel County, said the 3 1/2 -by-2 1/2 -foot signs and their attached wooden stakes had been pulled from the ground. Some other signs were vandalized, another campaign worker said.
Pub Date: 10/03/96