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Democratic state Senator admits husband stole GOP signs

Middletown Police say Sen. Bethany Hall-Long’s (D-Middletown) husband is behind a rash of about 56 stolen Republican Party campaign signs across the city.

And Sen. Hall-Long now confirms that's true.

A video released early Wednesday shows a man that appeared to be Dana Long with a handful of signs pulled from the ground nearby. The signs were placed along Del. 299 near the Route 1 intersection, police say.

Two men filming the encounter tell the suspect he’s stealing signs paid for by the Republican Party, but the man says there aren’t any specific names on them.

All are marked with "Paid for by: The Republican Party of Delaware."

The camera pans to the man’s car showing a backseat full of similar signs before driving away.

In a statement Wednesday night, Hall-Long said her husband "is the man depicted in the video" and that he turned the stolen signs over to the Democratic Party, asking that they be returned to the Republican Party about six hours after they were taken up.

"Sadly, this race has become tough and personal," Hall-Long's statement read. "My husband is my high school sweetheart and he loves me very much. I was not aware that he had allowed his frustration over the campaign attacks to get the better of him. Of course I'm disappointed and wish that it had not happened."

Hall-Long added she would not comment further since the Delaware GOP is threatening legal action.

[caption id="attachment_69033" align="alignright" width="350"] Dana Long (left) was the man captured on video (right) stealing GOP campaign signs in the Middletown area.[/caption]

A warrant has been issued for Dana Long charging him with theft under $1,500. That's a Class A Misdemeanor and he could face up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.

State Republican Party Executive Director John Fluharty says campaign signs highlighting Delaware's economy and urging residents to vote for GOP candidates were planted Saturday night.

Fluharty says signs have turned up missing throughout the state. New signs were put in place in the Middletown area, but kept being removed according to Fluharty.

“When you have one-party government, one political party controlling the state for the length of time that the Democrats have, politicians become arrogant," said Fluharty.

"They become greedy, they think they can function above the law and this is a prime example of that.”

Hall-Long has touted working across party lines, with a strongly worded campaign mailer opposing Gov. Jack Markell’s (D-Delaware) proposed ten-cent gas tax hike going out to constituents in recent days.

The mailer reads, “I’ve never hesitated to do the right thing for people – even when it means taking on my own party.”

That initiative imploded on the state House of Representatives side – never even being put into bill form as Democrat after Democrat shook their heads.

Markell has vowed to revisit infrastructure spending in 2015, but remains mum on specifics.

Regardless, all tax-related legislation must constitutionally originate in the state House.

Hall-Long has beat Republican challengers by more than twenty points in each race she’s ran since first being elected to the House in 2002 and later to the Senate in 2008.

Her opponent, John Marino, is campaigning against her support for solidifying what were supposed to be temporary tax increases during the Great Recession, along with her votes on those initial tax hikes.

State Democratic Party Chair John Daniello issued a general statement late Wednesday urging both parties to "behave responsibly" and "refocus their energy on running positive campaigns."

“Each campaign season, we deal with candidates removing their opponents signs. This behavior is absolutely unacceptable. There are more positive ways in which to support your candidate regardless of party affiliation.”

When asked about Hall-Long specifically, a party spokeswoman declined to comment further.