The story behind the strangest signs in the Miami Valley

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN) — If your eyes had a vote, one campaign sign would win in a landslide.

“It did catch my attention when I was driving in,” says Dan Birdsong with the University of Dayton Political Science Department.

So what’s behind the “Don’t Drink The Poison” signs that look like a cross between piracy and politics?

We went to the website listed on the signs and found a message criticizing the country’s two party system.

When you click on the “Start Here” link you’re taken to the site for former Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell who is running as an Independent for Montgomery County Commissioner.

“As an independent candidate this is my way of letting people know they shouldn’t vote for parties anymore,” Leitzell says. “They should look for qualified candidates and vote for people who get the job done.”

Leitzell says the idea for the poison sign came from another kind of so called poison, the logo at the Toxic Brew Company.

“We wanted something to get people’s attention,” Leitzell says. “Halloween is coming. We thought it was quite appropriate to do this.”

But how effective will the signs be?

“This sign can get a boost in some attention but long term whether the message then prevails is the open question,” Birdsong says.

Birdsong adds it’s one thing to check out the sign and another to click on the website.

“When you think about what it’s really communicating you have to go a bit further in what it’s about and who it’s tied to,” Birdsong says.

Leitzell also has traditional signs out along with the other candidates in the race, Dan Foley and Mike Nolan.

Birdsong says the typical signs will likely still dominate the landscape, political or otherwise.

“When you’re dealing with local elections the name and the recognition become even more important because most of the focus is on state and national politics,” Birdsong says.

Nolan had something else to add about campaign signs. He wants every candidate to make sure they clean theirs up after the election.

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