A campaign volunteer for several Republican candidates filed a Tucson police complaint Wednesday, alleging theft of Ruth McClung’s campaign signs by a staff member of U.S. Congressman Raúl Grijalva.
Gabriela Mercer, 46, said she saw two political campaign signs in the back of district director’s Ruben Reyes’ vehicle.
Mercer, who has a daughter serving in the Marines on her second tour in Afghanistan, had visited Grijalva’s congressional office with a small group of military parents to ask for information about his stance on war. She and two others then headed to his campaign office, hoping to speak with him there.
As Reyes approached them to tell them their issue was being resolved, he opened the back of his sports utility vehicle, where two yard signs were visible.
Mercer, who has volunteered for both Republican congressional candidates McClung and Jesse Kelly, said when she asked why he had them, Reyes became defensive and eventually said he was going to “put them up.”
She said she found it “unbelievable” that a high-ranking staffer would steal a political opponent’s signs.
Reyes said he did nothing wrong.
When he got up that morning, Reyes said he found a McClung sign as well as an anti-Grijalva sign, from an unidentified group, laying in his yard.
He picked them up, put them in his truck and then discarded the signs, Reyes said.
Reyes has not been contacted by the police and chalked the incident up to “political operatives” trying to gain advantage in the waning days of the election cycle by blowing the situation out of proportion.
Asked why he told Mercer he was going to put the signs up instead of giving this version of the story, Reyes said it was a “spur of the moment” comment.
McClung’s campaign spokesman, Sam Stone, declined comment, saying the campaign does not know enough about the incident. "The only thing I would say is that if it is true and he has the time to do that, his schedule is certainly a lot easier than ours," Stone said.