Election season: A sign of the times

A paid political campaign banner on a fence at the annual Culpeper County Firemanâ??s Carnival became a hot issue last Friday, with less than six months before Election Day.

A candidate wanted to display a campaign sign on the fence where Commonwealthâ??s Attorney candidate Paul Walther had a banner.

Jim Queen, a board member of the Culpeper Agricultural Enterprises Inc., along James Monroe Highway where the carnival is held, said the center does not take political sides and removed Waltherâ??s banner.

â??We donâ??t like to have political signs on our fence,â? said Queen.

Culpeper County Volunteer Fire Department President Steve Corbin acknowledged that the banner, which is paid for as part of the departmentâ??s fundraising effort, was placed on the fence.

Queen said the fire department rents a specified area of the grounds, not the fence.

â??The fire department did not clear that with us,â? said Queen. â??They donâ??t have anything to do with the fence.â?

When asked which candidate wanted her sign displayed, Queen wouldnâ??t name the candidate.

â??I donâ??t know who it was,â? said Queen, who referred additional questions about the issue to center President Ray Gore Jr.

Efforts to reach Gore proved unsuccessful.

Walther expressed surprise when told that his banner had been removed.

Corbin said he apologized to the center for the misunderstanding. He also said all candidates were contacted by email or on Facebook notifying them of the paid sponsorships, allowing political signs at the annual carnival.

All candidates but two acknowledged the offer. A sheriffâ??s hopeful and commonwealthâ??s attorney candidate did not, according to Corbin.

Corbin said Waltherâ??s sign had been recovered.

â??We are going to set it up inside,â? said Corbin.

Wally Bunker is a freelance contributor with the Culpeper Times. You may reach him at wallybunker@outlook.com