Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Thieves break into Toledo Dems' office, take campaign info
From the Blade:
Thieves shattered a side window overnight at Lucas County Democratic headquarters in Toledo, stealing computers with sensitive campaign information and triggering concern of the local party's ability to deliver crucial votes on Nov. 2.
Among the data on the stolen computer of the party's office manager were: e-mails discussing campaign strategy, candidates' schedules, financial information, and phone numbers of party members, candidates, donors, and volunteers.
Also taken were computers belonging to Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak and to a Texas attorney working with the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign to ensure election security.
The thefts have prompted the Kerry/Edwards campaign and Democrats in Washington to offer help and have left local officials fretting about the crime's impact on the upcoming election, in which Ohio plays a high-profile role.
"This puts us behind the eight ball," party spokesman Jerry Chabler said. "This can affect our entire get-out-the-vote operation."
Ohio's Democratic Party pledged to deploy volunteers, lend computers, or "provide whatever source of assistance they need," said spokesman Dan Trevas.
The political importance of Lucas County cannot be overstated, Mr. Trevas said.
"It's a major Democratic county in a swing area, surrounded by Republican and moderates," Mr. Trevas said. "A lot of votes come out of northwest Ohio."
[. . . ]
At Democratic headquarters, officials stopped short of publicly blaming partisan politics, but at the same time, they all but ruled out run-of-the-mill criminals.
Two other computers, holding less sensitive information, were untouched, as were a petty cash box that usually holds $80 to $100, televisions, portable radios, and other electronics. Moreover, other offices inside the building, 1817 Madison Ave., were not entered. Files, papers, and pamphlets remained in neat piles, and campaign signs leaned, apparently undisturbed, against a wall . . .