On Friday, a man in Sanford was reportedly cited for stealing signs used in the campaign for congressional candidate Clay Aiken. According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, a man named Jonathon Lee Gonia, 31 years old, was served with a criminal summons for removal of election or political signs. Gonia is reportedly scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
The Lee County Democratic Party apparently received a report on Thursday evening that someone was removing Aiken’s signs at the intersection of Jefferson Davis and Center Church roads. A description of the man provided by a witness was matched to Gonia, along with information such as the license tag of the vehicle he was driving.
The witness spoke to Gonia, who claimed that he worked for the Democratic Party and was removing the Clay Aiken signs because they were obstructing his view.
“Based on the evidence that we have in the investigation, it appears that [Gonia] stole the signs,” said Lee County Sheriff Tracy Carter.
However, according to a statement issued by Gonia and his lawyer, Ed Page, Gonia was removing Aiken’s signs because they were placed within three feet from the road and obstructing the view of motorists.
“Mr. Gonia removed unlawfully placed signs and returned them to Lee County Democrat Headquarters. We fully believe that it was lawful to remove these unlawfully placed signs,” said Page.
Meanwhile, Aiken embarked on a three-week bus tour across US House District 2 starting with a rally in Cary, North Carolina on Tuesday, October 14. Aiken will be hosting town hall meetings, attending local events and meeting constituents throughout his tour.
The bus is here! #ncpol #nc02 pic.twitter.com/NJynL92TsC
— Clay Aiken (@ClayForNC) October 14, 2014
Aiken is running against Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, and will be facing her in a forum being hosted by the Sanford Herald newspaper when his tour bus moves to Sanford from Cary.