Radford, VA – A Virginia state delegate was caught red-handed by police tampering with campaign signs outside a polling location the night before the election (video below).
The incident occurred on Nov. 1 when a deputy with the Radford City Sheriff’s Office spotted two people tampering with Republican candidates’ campaign signs that had been installed outside a city recreation center that held a voting site, WSLS reported.
Radford City Sheriff Mark Armentrout said the deputy saw the pair get into a vehicle and a Radford City police officer stopped the suspect vehicle shortly thereafter, FOX News reported.
Police identified the driver of the vehicle as Democratic Virginia State Delegate Chris Hurst.
Hurst, the incumbent candidate for the 12 District, was up for re-election the next morning, WSLS reported.
His passenger and alleged partner-in-crime was his girlfriend, Emily Frentress.
On Tuesday night, Hurst admitted to reporters that he’d been caught participating in what he told police was a prank, WDJB reported.
“We flipped over a couple of yard signs, took them, put them upside down and then put them right side up, that’s what we did,” the lawmaker admitted.
He confirmed that they had targeted signs of GOP candidates, including his opponent, Jason Ballard, WDJB reported.
“This has been a real dragged-out race. It’s been very competitive and to some degree it’s been sometimes nasty,” Hurst explained. “Election Eve, you’ve run a really hard race, a very long campaign and you just do a prank to be a goof and it happens to be done by somebody who is very apologetic for what they’ve done.”
The lawmaker also tried to explain away driving with a suspended license as an insurance mistake he wasn’t aware of, WDJB reported.
He apologized for his actions and said he needed to set a better example
Ballard beat Hurst in the Nov. 2 election and the incumbent conceded the race on Wednesday morning, according to WDJB.
Hours later, FOX News released bodycam video of what happened when a Radford City police officer stopped Hurst’s vehicle and it didn’t exactly match the soon-to-be former lawmaker’s version of events.
“Want to explain your actions?” the officer asked Hurst.
“I don’t think so,” Hurst replied in the video.
“Do you want to explain your actions about tampering with the voting site up there?” the officer asked.
“Tampering with the voting site?” Hurst replied.
“Yeah, turning the signs upside down,” the officer said in the video.
The officer told Hurst that his behavior was in “poor taste” and asked him why he was driving on a suspended license, FOX News reported.
Hurst claimed he had no idea a car insurance problem could have affected his driver’s license and said he had not received a notice.
Then bodycam showed the officer told the election official that he needed to go back to the polling site and fix the signs he’d tampered with.
“I think what you need to do after I deal with you here is go back and fix those signs,” the officer said. “What do you think? You try to resort to doing this? Instead of doing a fair election?”
“Chris, quit playing. Quit playing,” the officer continued in the video. “Y’all are up there turning over signs at the polling area and you’re sitting here acting like you don’t know what’s going on?”
“I really don’t feel like me responding to any questions that an officer has for me, that are kind of asking me to make a value statement on my actions is really kinda immaterial to the question here,” Hurst told the officer.
“I would think that something that was a little high jinx, steam-blowing-off on and off is exactly what everybody over on the other side of the mountain does and people all over this district do,” he continued, as if vandalizing campaign signs the night before his own election wasn’t against the law.
The officer was not amused, the bodycam showed.
“So you’re going to resort to that and represent us?” he asked Hurst.
“I need you to just do your job here tonight and I’ll do mine,” Hurst told the officer. “I have nothing more to say to you, officer. I’m sorry for actions that I may have done or my partner may have done, but I think you’re getting a little emotional here.”
“I’m not getting emotional at all, you’re supposed to be representing us. You’re supposed to be out here representing us and not out here acting like a school kid,” the officer told him in the video.
“How am I supposed to vote for you if you’re out here doing this?” he asked the candidate.
“Were you planning on voting for me?” Hurst asked.
“Well, that’s all up in the air now,” the officer told him.
“I’m sorry if I lost your support, sir,” the election official said in the video.
Hurst was a journalist before he entered politics after his fiancé, television reporter Alison Parker, was fatally shot during a live interview in Moneta, FOX News reported.
He was elected to office in 2018.
No charges have been filed yet against Hurst in connection with the incident.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: