A billboard featuring a large pair of watchful eyes went up in Tallahassee, Fla. recently, and at least one passerby was more than a little creeped out.
“All politics aside, this billboard downtown gives me the creeps,” a local man tweeted. Not wishing to get involved in a political dispute, he deleted the message later, but PJ Media preserved a screenshot of the billboard.
“I’ll watch over our city as if it’s my own child,” the billboard reads, with a blown-up image of the candidate’s eyes. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, a candidate for Tallahassee mayor, confirmed to PJ Media that her campaign put up the billboard.
“Yes indeed we did” set up the billboard, Rehwinkel Vasilinda told PJ Media. “Proud of it.” She even attacked anyone who would look askance at the billboard.
“If some folks see a mother’s watchful and loving eyes as ‘creepy’, then they have personal issues that are not in my area of expertise,” Rehwinkel Vasilinda told PJ Media.
“It is my eyes,” the candidate said in a separate message to PJ Media. She said the billboard expressed “who I am and how I feel about elected public service — a stewardship, a fiduciary responsibility of the highest order — that is indeed how I approached my legislative service as someone who took the responsibility to watch over the interests of those I was entrusted to represent.”
Rehwinkel Vasilinda also attacked any “detractors,” lamenting the dirty business of politics. “Politics can be the ugliest and dirtiest of games — some opponents will say or do anything to win; especially when feeling desperate,” she told PJ Media.
Rehwinkel Vasilinda, who served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives as a Democrat before becoming Independent a few months before the end of her term, and a Republican in 2017, has vocally supported President Donald Trump.
The candidate expressed her doubt that critics of her billboard would be well-meaning. “If some folks don’t like it, fine and dandy — but be very clear some of those folks — maybe most of all — are opponents in one way or the other — even if they profess not to be… old trick,” she told PJ Media.
“Anyhow — lets also remember one of the best and most courageous presidents we ever had in this nation — he was sorely, sorely ridiculed by his opponents — some of them professing to be well meaning…” Rehwinkel Vasilinda later explained to PJ Media that these remarks referred to President Abraham Lincoln.
Voting for Tallahassee mayor will take place this coming Tuesday, August 28. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will proceed to a runoff in November.
This month, Rehwinkel Vasilinda launched a low-power radio station to reach commuters near her building on N. Monroe street. This innovative push seems much better suited for the local campaign than her potentially off-putting billboard — even if the intended message behind the billboard is a good one.