A race for Hawaiʻi State House appears to be getting rather heated. John-Bull English, a candidate for House of Reps., District 13, posted an image to Facebook today showing one of his signs vandalized with red spray paint. The paint spells out the words “Vote - Lynn DeCoite,” the incumbent currently representing the district. According to English, seven of his signs have been stolen and three have been torn apart in addition to the spray-painted sign.
In the post, English urges his friends and supporters to refrain from retaliating, saying:
Momentum has swung our way and only our emotional reactions to distractions can shift it. We need to stay focused on the goal. We can do it!
Rep. DeCoite emailed a prepared statement in response to inquiries about the incident:
I was made aware of the vandalism to John Bull- English’s sign(s) this morning. I have already spoken to him to let him know that in no way do I condone any type of actions like this. I know first hand what it is and how it feels to have signs vandalized and I would never support that being done to another candidate/person.
I fully support anyone’s right to run for office and feel they and their campaign materials should be treated with respect.
One of the things that makes this race interesting is the fact that the district encompasses the islands of Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe, as well as the remote Hāna coast of East Maui. DeCoite is based on Molokaʻi, while English is based in Hāna. How the distance between the different communities represented by DeCoite plays out in the race for her House seat is an interesting consideration. English did not respond to our inquiry by publication, but the story will be updated when he does.