BLAIR TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Trump 2020 campaign signs are visible from Sonja Bihary’s kitchen window, from her backyard and the front, spiked into the lawns she passes on her daily commutes, and spread across billboards on local highways.
Donald Trump received 73% of the vote in 2016 in rural Blair County, where Bihary lives with her husband and four daughters. So when the elementary teacher put up some campaign signs for Democratic candidate Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, she expected a little pushback.
“We would put a sign out and a few days later, they would be gone,” she said Tuesday evening in her living room.
One time, a teenage boy rang her doorbell, told her that he and his friends took the sign, and replaced it. Bihary, 50, said she never went to the police about the thefts or vandalism.
“I was going to order a flag so it would be closer to my house,” she said.
Bihary’s husband, an Army veteran who asked not to be named, takes credit for the idea of turning their garage door into a billboard, but she’s the one who bought the red and white paint, taped out the letters, and painted “Biden/Harris” on the approximately 16-by-8-foot panel. They were already planning to get a new door.
She began the project around Labor Day. Many motorists in this west-central Pennsylvania township slow down to look. Some get out of their cars to thank her. Some curse at her.
“A woman on the back of a motorcycle gave me the finger," said Bihary. “But I’d say the positive comments have outweighed the negative.”
Pete Palumbo, vice chairman of the McKean County Democratic Committee on the state’s northern edge, believes the Biden supporters in rural Pennsylvania may be the “silent majority.”
“The picture is painted that we’re a bunch of redneck hicks up here,” Palumbo said. “The Biden people are pretty quiet, and the Trump people are a bit louder. We may be rural up here in God’s country, but we’re not stupid.”
Biden may have a garage door in Pennsylvania, but one Trump supporter turned an entire home into a tribute to the president, a tourist attraction known as the “Trump House” in Youngstown, Westmoreland County. Landlord Leslie Baum Rossi created her “shrine” to then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.
On the Pennsylvania Turnpike in central Pennsylvania, a massive Trump 2020 monument at least 20 feet wide was created out of blocks on an earthen berm, greeting thousands of motorists heading east from Pittsburgh.
Last month, a Lebanon County man was charged with stealing Trump campaign signs and vandalizing supporters' homes. Pennsylvania State Police dealt with vandalism to both candidates’ signs in Bucks and Northampton Counties last month, along with “Black Lives Matter” signs and others supporting law enforcement.
Palumbo said his committee has put out approximately 15 larger Biden signs, about five feet square, and three of them have been vandalized. Of the 700 lawn signs they’ve handed out, approximately 60 to 70 have been stolen.
Bihary said there are more signs for Biden than Hillary Clinton had in 2016, though she believes the support for Trump has gotten “obnoxious.”
“My garage door was my little reply to it all," she said. “I mean, big reply."