Campaign signs found in opponent's son's burn pile

IONIA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A man who ran for supervisor in Ionia Township is claiming "political sabotage" after his campaign signs ended up in a burn pile.

The burn pile is on property owned by his opponent's son.

"I can't believe people would stoop this low to try to win an election," said Mark Barna, the former candidate.

The opponent's son acknowledged he put the signs in a burn pile after finding them in his barn, but said he doesn't know how they got there.

Barna was running as a Republican for Ionia Township supervisor in 2016 when, he said, his campaign signs started disappearing.

As many as a dozen of his 40 four-by-four-foot signs were taken in one night, he said.

His opponent, Ionia Township Supervisor Larry Listerman, a Democrat who had never been opposed in 26 years, beat him by 128 votes in November 2016.

"It was a close race," Barna said. "I didn't lose by much. It possibly could have cost me the election."

Then, last week, he said a friend spotted a half-dozen of his 2016 campaign signs in the burn pile on land owned by his opponent's son, Chad Listerman.

"They forgot to torch the evidence, torch the pile," Barna said.

He reported it to the sheriff's department, which gathered up the signs.

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