Democrats in Lubbock, Texas, held a press conference on Sunday to address a recent spate of vandalism targeting political signs in support of President Barack Obama.
The spree reportedly culminated over the weekend when local officials reported that a large roadside sign had been defaced with repeated instances of the n-word and sprayed with mustard.
(Photo here. Caution, strong language.)
In his remarks, Lubbock Democratic Party Chairman Kenny Ketner said the latest incident was proof that "hate crimes" could now be added to the growing list of alleged transgressions against local supporters of the president.
"Hundreds of Obama yard signs have been stolen from neighborhoods all across Lubbock," Ketner said, according to Texas' KCBD. "We have had over half a dozen of our large 4x4 and 4x8 signs stolen, vandalized, or shot ... Please don't misunderstand me: I don't mean to say that every Republican is racist. But we are not going to sweep this problem under the rug like we always do in Lubbock. Racist words scribbled on a political sign are a community problem, and I call on the entire community of Lubbock to discuss this problem openly and come up with a solution."
Lubbock's KLBK reported on a pro-Obama sign allegedly found with numerous bullet holes through it.
Ketner went on to say that witnesses had told him the suspected perpetrators varied in age and gender, and weren't "just kids."
Lubbock GOP Chairman Carl Tepper later told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that local Republicans are also being targeted by vandalism and theft. According to Tepper, numerous Mitt Romney yard signs have been stolen as well.
Racist anti-Obama displays have arisen around the country as election season continues to heat up. A number of empty chair "lynchings," presumably inspired by Clint Eastwood's famous act at the Republican National Convention over the summer, have invited controversy. The first known incident of this also took place in Texas.
Of course, the broader issue of campaign sign vandalism is not resigned to either party in particular. Instances of theft and property damage have been reported against targets from across the political spectrum, in some cases even leading to arrests. Last week, an 80-year-old Connecticut woman was picked up by police and charged after she stole anti-Obama signs from a fringe group that had altered the president's likeness so that he resembled Hitler.