State Sen. Jake Chapman, the Adel Republican in a hotly contested race to retain his district 10 seat, claimed on Facebook Sunday that his campaign sign and a nearby Trump-Pence sign were vandalized, but some of his critics suspect Chapman was himself behind the stunt.
“Is this what they mean by being ‘tolerant?'” Chapman asked the followers of his Facebook campaign page. “Vandalizing my campaign sign by graffitiing ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) and BLM on President Trump’s sign only demonstrates how unhinged the left has become.”
Chapman did not indicate the location of the damaged signs. Iowa Senate District 10 comprises the largely rural areas of Dallas, Guthrie and Adair counties but also includes suburban enclaves in the Dallas County portion of Urbandale and the Polk County townships of Union and Madison on the east side of Saylorville Reservoir, including Polk City.
Most of Chapman’s Facebook fans denounced the vandalism done to his sign and the violence of the “unhinged” left, but at least one critic was skeptical of Chapman’s account.
“‘All Cops Are Bastards’ isn’t a common phrase on the left — certainly not common enough to have its own acronym,” observed Kevin Cooney on Chapman’s Facebook thread. “If Mr. Chapman is knowledgeable enough to explain this fictional acronym, the odds are that it is because he vandalized his own signs (or paid others to do so). I guess it’s not technically illegal to spray paint your own property, but it does seem a pretty underhanded way of demonizing the left and preying on the gullibility of your supporters.”
Chapman declined to comment further on the alleged vandalism. He has been a vocal opponent of the Black Lives Matter movement, including calling for the deployment of the Iowa National Guard in June when BLM protesters spray painted a Des Moines Police Department patrol vehicle. He answered question about police brutality and officer misconduct with hashtags: #IStandWithPolice #EnforceTheLaw #AllLivesMatter.
Responding to Chapman’s law-and-order rhetoric, one of his Facebook followers called Chapman’s professed libertarian tendencies into question.
“This is literally the least conservative or libertarian move you could make,” the critic said. “This is why you must lose the next election. You shouldn’t wield any power over others when your knee-jerk reaction to minor criminal infractions is to call in the military. I can’t tell if Trumpism has led you to this place or you always leaned toward authoritarianism, but either way it’s scary, and it’s wrong for Dallas County and Iowa.”
Chapman’s legislative accomplishments in his two terms have included leadership on legalizing fireworks in Iowa, in gratitude for which Valerie and Donald Bellino of Omaha, owners of Bellino Fireworks, donated $3,500 to Chapman’s 2020 campaign war chest.
He also championed the law, signed in June, allowing the unrestricted entry of guns into Iowa’s schools, city halls, libraries, senior centers and other public buildings. The Iowa Firearms Coalition, which is the state chapter of the National Rifle Association, endorsed Chapman in September as its “pro-gun candidate.”
“The 2nd Amendment is My PPE,” read the virus-mitigating face mask Chapman wore on the floor of the Iowa Senate in June, in effect mocking his colleagues for their COVID-19 anxieties. Chapman is the chief operating officer of Des Moines-based Midwest Ambulance Service of Iowa Inc.
Warren Varley, the Democrat from Stuart, opposes Chapman in the Nov. 3 general election. He recently released a campaign video: