Ten days after open season for primary yard signs, the first placards for the Brown County sheriff’s contest have sprung up in my neighborhood. On my unscientific meander around northern Aberdeen this afternoon, I spotted just one yard promoting Dan Kaiser and three boosting incumbent sheriff Mark Milbrandt.
Milbrandt wins for using bigger letters on bigger signs. I was able to see both his name and the office he (re)seeks from farther down the block. Kaiser’s name pops out reasonably well from a distance, but one has to get pretty close before seeing that, oh, yeah, he’s running for sheriff, too.
Both candidates use the five-point sheriff’s star as their main graphic element. But Sheriff Milbrandt’s sign artist more accurately captures the shape used for the Brown County sheriff’s logo, complete with the little circles at the ends of the slightly more convex points. A white swoop strangely slices Kaiser’s blue circled star, signifying… what? Tearing off his city police badge to take over the sheriff’s department? The blue spills out from this deep cut, as if marking an exit wound.
Both men keep color scheme simple: Milbrandt goes for what feels to me like the more sheriffy yellow on black (or maybe I’m getting that confused with taxis), while Kaiser goes for the blue on white associated with the city P.D.
At least one city councilor doesn’t want to lose that association:
Milbrandt’s treasurer, Dave Lunzman, is also an Aberdeen city councilor, which kinda-sorta makes him Kaiser’s boss. Lunzman just retired from the state Division of Criminal Investigations, making him perhaps keenly interested in which cops work in which agency. Maybe Lunzman just doesn’t want to lose a good city cop.
Or maybe Lunzman is thinking of that unpleasant lawsuit that his old colleagues at DCI lost to Kaiser’s wife last fall, thinking of the bad press that accrued around DCI and his pal Sheriff Milbrandt over the discrimination and retaliation that former DCI agent Laura Zylstra Kaiser suffered, and thinking, “Do I really want the next sheriff to be named ‘Kaiser’?”
I’ll keep an eye on the yard-sign poll and see if it reflects turnout on June 5.