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Local Election

DeKalb mayoral candidates hit with attack ads

DeKALB – With a little more than a week remaining before election day, flyers and campaign signs negatively targeting DeKalb’s four mayoral candidates appeared along Sycamore Road and other parts of the city.

Candidate Misty Haji-Sheikh said her husband, Michael, called DeKalb police Sunday after discovering campaign signs along Normal Road that read “Michael Haji-Sheikh for Mayor” with the caption “Be Realistic.”

“The police have started an investigation into it,” Misty Haji-Sheikh said. “Having talked with the property owners, these signs had been placed without permission, so they are illegal to begin with. They were also using my husband’s name without permission.”

A message for the DeKalb Police Department was not immediately returned.

Haji-Sheikh said most of the signs that were along Sycamore Road have been removed, and the purpose of the signs may be to confuse voters into selecting mayoral candidate Michael Embrey’s name on the ballot.

“I don’t know where these ads came from, but when it gets to the last couple weeks of an election, everybody’s going to be pulling out stories,” Embrey said.

Candidates said residents also have reported campaign flyers that criticize each mayoral candidate.

Jerry Smith said he was extremely disappointed and had hoped that the entire campaign could have been conducted in a civil manner.

“I pledge to continue to stay on the high road,” Smith said. “I refuse to get in the muck with the people that want to go there. This is not what I’m about and certainly not what this campaign should be about, and I will move forward for the betterment of the citizens of DeKalb.”

Neither the signs or the flyers featured any information on where they were printed or who paid for them, Haji-Sheikh said.

“I’m focusing on the issues – on how to make a better DeKalb, on the voters and on the things that need to be done,” Haji-Sheikh said.

Incumbent Mayor John Rey said he had not heard of either advertisement, but he was frustrated to hear of such incidents.

“I have personally pledged fair campaign practices in my petition packet, and I think, by and large, what I have seen is that all of the candidates have respected those campaigning practices,” Rey said. “From an official standpoint, I don’t know if there’s anything that can be done about squashing that kind of behavior given freedom of speech.”

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