July 5, 2022

News From the Front of Essex’s “Lawn Sign War”

The battle of the lawn signs wages in Essex. The two principal combatants, Republican candidate for First Selectman Bruce MacMillian and Democratic candidate Norman Needleman, are duking it out on a host of private lawns in town.

As to whether the omnipresent signs are a form of visual pollution in the “oh so quaint,” colonial town of Essex, or are a meaningful example of political expression, jealously protected by the First Amendment, is in the eye of the beholder.

For his part Democratic candidate Norman Needleman says, “Signs don’t vote, but our supporters are very enthusiastic about our campaign, and like to show their support by displaying them, that said, I would be quite content if there was an agreement not to have any signs by both parties, because they are wasteful and, when there are too many of them, they tend to be unsightly.”

Republican candidate Bruce MacMillian says about the lawn signs, “I think they are probably a relatively inconspicuous way to get your name before the public. I am concerned, when residents raise an issue about this traditional way of campaigning in local politics. We always get permission of the property owner before we put up our signs, and we get requests from people who want our signs.”

To determine who is ahead in Essex’s lawn sign war, we took an informal count of the candidates’ lawn signs. The two test territories tallied were: (1) along North Main Street and River Road from the Silent Policeman to Heritage Cove, and (2) from River Road up Book Hill Road to the Deep River line.

MacMillian ahead, but not by much

Combining the two tallies the winners are:

Bruce MacMillian, running for First Selectman—18 lawn signs

MacMillian lawn sign at Book Hill Road and River Road

Norman Needleman, running for First Selectman – 16 lawn signs

Needleman lawn sign at top of Book Hill Road

Joel Marzi, running for Selectman – 5 lawn signs
(Marzi’s name also appears on some of MacMillian’s signs.)

Mazi lawn sign on Book Hill Road

Stacia Rice-Libby, running for Selectman – 0 lawn signs
(However, Rice-Libby’s name appears on all of Needleman’s signs.)

John Ackerman, running for Board of Assessment Appeals – 8 lawn signs

These counts are not a definitive test as to who are going to win the elections. Also, in a brief vehicular survey, it appears that whereas lawn sign coverage for the First Selectman’s race in Centerbrook was a tie, in Ivortyton Needleman had plenty of lawn signs in place, whereas MacMillian’s lawn signs had yet to reach the area.

Finally, the goblins that are about on Halloween, October 31, sometimes play havoc with lawn signs. Therefore, both camps will  hold back on a final planting of lawn signs, until after Halloween and before Election Day on November 8.

Supporting Needman, even though the house is for sale