PHOENIX — Investment banker Jeff DeWit beat out former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman in a dirty race for the Republican state treasurer spot in November’s general election.
The race between Hallman and DeWit turned nasty over the past few weeks. On Aug. 21, the two campaigns were arguing over a video, since pulled from YouTube, that purportedly showed Hallman placing signs in front of DeWit’s in Mesa. It is illegal to cover or deface a campaign sign in Arizona.
But Hallman, who would only speak as a representative of his campaign and not a candidate, said his campaign received an anonymous tip that a sign of his was blocking one belonging to DeWit. He said he went to the sign, took photos and removed it.
Simple, right? Not so, according to Hallman.
“Miraculously, apparently a volunteer of the DeWit campaign was there to videotape us removing the sign,” he said. “In an almost Nixonian dirty tricks effort, that campaign has now put up a video making it appear that Hugh Hallman and the campaign volunteer are erecting the sign.”
Calling the supposed tactic “despicable,” Hallman said someone is moving his signs without his consent.
In an online statement, DeWit said he feels Hallman not only owes him an apology, but is unfit for office.
Each day of this campaign I am more and more amazed by the depths to which Hugh Hallman will sink. I understand that based on the polls, Mr. Hallman is desperate and seems willing to try and say anything. But his eagerness to go outside of the rules, run ads and send mass emails with untrue information should give all voters good reason to ensure that he is not elected. The Republican Party has endured enough negativity this year, I sincerely hope Mr. Hallman will heed the call of our Chairman Robert Graham and begin campaigning “on issues and vision, rather than personal attacks.”
In case you’re wondering, candidates do get in trouble for messing with signs. Another Republican, Rep. Bob Robson, was cited by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for removing a campaign sign in Chandler.
KTAR’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.