The following story was written by a student in John B. Saul’s graduate reporting class atThe University of Montana. You are free to share or publish this story, provided you retain the reporter’s byline.
FREY LEADS RACE IN MOST MISSING YARD SIGNSBY WILL MELTON
When James Rhines first saw that his two political yard signs weremissing, he thought they had blown away. But when he went down thestreet to recover them, he found no trace of either sign.Rhines, a Missoula Republican, isn’t the only Missoulian to have signsgo missing. One of his signs was for Linda Frey, a University of Montana professor who is running for House District 94. Frey says that30 of her campaign signs have been reported missing out of 268 thathave been put up around her district.By contrast, her opponent, Democratic Rep. Dave McAlpin, said onlysix of his 120 signs have gone missing.According to Will Deschamps, Republican Central Committee chairman,Frey is the only local candidate he knew of with so many signs missing.He said he also knew of only 20 to 30 missing John McCain signs,despite there being many more of them.Caleb Weaver, communications director for Barack Obama’s Campaignin Montana, said there hadn’t been an unusual number of Obama signsstolen and that he hadn’t heard of any other Democrats around Missoulahaving problems.Frey is unwilling to speculate on why her signs have been especially prone to disappearing, but Deschamps said “people get emotional whenRepublicans get signs.”At a recent meeting of the Republican Pachyderm Club, it was postulated that the disappearances meant Frey’s campaign hadDemocrats scared.