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Van Orden signs vandalized; campaign doesn't plan to pursue charges

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A candidate for public office who had a campaign sign defaced with a swastika isn’t planning to pursue charges, according to the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office.

Three signs endorsing the campaign of Derrick Van Orden were vandalized Aug. 1 in the Town of Holland. The signs belong to landowner Stan Richason and have since been replaced.

Van Orden is running as a Republican in the 3rd District Congressional race.

La Crosse County Sheriff Jeff Wolf said Tuesday his office has been advised by the Van Orden campaign “that they don’t wish to pursue charges.”

Van Orden blamed political opponents for the vandalism in a statement released Monday.

“This is just the latest in a series of attempts by the Left to censor and silence those who think differently than they do,” the statement read. “Vandalism like this and attempts to silence political speech are unacceptable, regardless of party affiliation. I am running to represent everyone in the 3rd District, including those who disagree with me.”

Wolf said it would be at the discretion of the La Crosse County District Attorney’s office to pursue hate crime charges if a suspect is apprehended. He said vandalized political signs haven’t been a widespread problem in the county.

“While it may occur, we have very few, if any, complaints of theft or vandalism,” Wolf said.

La Crosse Tribune reporter Steve Rundio can be reached at steve.rundio@lee.net.

“This is just the latest in a series of attempts by the Left to censor and silence those who think differently than they do. Vandalism like this and attempts to silence political speech are unacceptable, regardless of party affiliation."

Van Orden campaign statement

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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