Campaign Signs Raise Concern with Democrats - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/5/08

Campaign Signs Raise Concern with Democrats

As you drive down the streets of Lubbock you'll see plenty of signs reminding you that it's election season. One sign, in particular, is causing a stir. "He is not associated with the Democratic Party, and his signs need to indicate that," said Lubbock County Democratic Party Chair Pam Brink of Frank Gutierrez.

Some local Democrats are upset because County Commissioner candidate Frank Gutierrez put out signs that say Democrats for Frank Gutierrez, but he's the Republican candidate. Democrats also point out that according to election codes, signs should say Gutierrez for County Commissioner, but his signs leave out the word "for". "They're out of code and we would like him to fix that. I don't know how he couldn't have known that by now, it's stunning," said Brink. 

Gutierrez says there are Democrats that support him, "The reason that's on there is because I have many Democratic loyalists who in this race have told me very clearly that they don't want to support my opponent, therefore I felt it necessary to display that support on my signage."

Gutierrez thinks it's legal for him to use another party's name on his sign. "It doesn't say Democrat. It says Democrats for Frank Gutierrez. There's quite a difference. Perfectly legal, perfectly true, and that's the way people feel," said Gutierrez. 

Brink says the Democratic Party will wait one week before they take any formal action to give Gutierrez a chance to take his signs down.

Here's what we learned from our conversation with the Texas Ethics Commisison.

Gutierrez's signs leave out the word "for" - which does violate ethics codes. Secondly, the signs say democrats for, when he's the republican candidate. But the commission says he has a disclaimer saying who paid for it, so it does not violate any disclaimer laws.

The Democratic Party could file a complaint, but state regulators tell NewsChannel 11 that a fact error cannot be determined until there's been a Texas Ethics Commission investigation.

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