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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Campaign sign vandalism turned out for one candidate for New Hanover County Commission this weekend.

Wilmington Police say they received a call just before p.m. Friday night about a man vandalizing campaign signs. They say Wayne Cole, 69, was using a knife to take down Derrick Hickey campaign signs in the 6200 block of Greenville Loop Road.

Hickey, a Republican running for commissioner, says he was driving home from dinner when he and his wife spotted a man tampering with one of his campaign signs. Hickey says Cole shoved his wife after she got out of the car to take a picture of his license plate. Hickey says the man then began yelling at him and his wife. Hickey says Cole pulled out a knife and threatened his life.

“He pulled out a knife and threatened to stab me,” Hickey said. “And then he started striking me, hit me multiple times in the face.”

Hickey says the driver of the car Cole was in drove away leaving Cole with Hickey and his wife.

Cole was a volunteer for the Skip Watkins campaign. Watkins, another Republican, says he had no knowledge of the vandalism, and Cole is no longer working with their campaign team.

“I was angry, disappointed and hurt that someone would jeopardize the hard work we did on the campaign,” Watkins said.

Watkins says what Cole did was inexcusable, and he hopes the people of New Hanover County will understand.

“I think most people in the community will realize you can’t control a volunteer,” Watkins said. “Why he chose to do what he did, I have no idea. What escalated between them to cause that, I have no idea.”

Police say Cole is charged with two counts of simple assault and one count of property damage.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest2020

    Of all the problems facing New Hanover County and Wilmington, and people just want to complain about campaign signs that are temporary. You need to focus your time and energy to things that really matter.

    They are not considered abandoned property and are not removed by the DOT as long as they are lawfully placed.

    According to state law, it is a Class 3 misdemeanor for a person to steal, deface, vandalize or unlawfully remove a political sign that is lawfully placed.

  • Kyle Rooster

    There’s a cloud of drama that follows Dr. Hickey, and I think it’s of his own making. The web site stunt was trashy enough, but to use your children as props in an overly dramatic stunt to confront a man on a dark road messing with your sign is beyond irresponsible. This is a clear indication of how Dr. Hickey will conduct the County’s business. People will be used to facilitate a little drama to keep attention focused on him. Will Dr. Hickey be heir to the Brian Berger seat?

  • Google IT!

    As much as I hate seeing all the political signs they are legal and special laws were passed in 2011 allowing them on state highways. http://www.ncleg.net/Sessions/2011/Bills/Senate/PDF/S315v5.pdf Perhaps instead of getting angry about it, you should use google to find that they are a legal right of campaigns. Don’t like it? Then use google to find your local representation and email them about how they should be eliminated. It helps to be an informed citizen in this country.

  • Guest sickened tired

    Stephanie Kraybill, who ran for a board of education seat in 2010 and has been in eligible to run again due to delinquent campaign finance reports, continues to publicly make the claims you state above about Hickey. It is pathetic. Suggesting that this was a “stunt” is repulsive. Being happy someone got attacked is even more so. Stephanie lost in 2010 by her own doing. People didn’t like her. It had nothing to do with Derrick Hickey. it had to do with her not being well liked. She will probably never get elected due to the mean-girls style bashing she has made her style of interaction. The rest of us left that behind in high school.

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