We've heard about some dirty tricks during this year's election season, but this one goes way too far.
While judicial candidate Alan Bernstein, whom I wrote about yesterday, was campaigning at the library in Coral Springs, two of his wife's tires were intentionally punctured in the parking lot, according to police. They suspect it was campaign-related, especially since the vehicle had a magnetic Bernstein sign on it.
We've had other reports of campaign vandalism, notably signs of judicial candidate Rhoda Sokoloff's being defaced. Sokoloff is running against incumbent Judge Eileen O'Connor.
After I received the lowdown from police on the tire slashing, I contacted Bernstein and got the story. Inside, read the rather chilling details.
Bernstein, who is running against incumbent Judge Barbara McCarthy, was campaigning at the Northwest Regional Library in Coral Springs, where the early voting polling place is located. His wife, Karen, was there too, in her own car. Also there campaigning was McCarthy and some of her volunteers.
Karen Bernstein left the polling place about ten minutes before it closed to pick up the couple's 7-year-old son, who was at a friend's home. She says she didn't notice anything wrong with the car, a 2005 Mercedes, and got in the car and drove away.
"It started to swerve," Karen Bernstein told me. "I thought it was the steering. Thankfully I got to my friend's driveway and looked and saw that the tires were dead, and it looked like they had puncture wounds, and they are brand-new tires."
She called her husband, who was still at the polling place. He arrived to see that both the driver's-side front and rear tires had been punctured. They called police, who suspect it was an intentional act and may have been done with a knife.
"It might be politically motivated because there was a campaign sign on the vehicle," said Coral Springs Sgt. Dave Kirkland. "The first order of business to see if there is a [surveillance] video."
"If she had gone on the highway, she probably would have been killed," said Alan Bernstein, who is back at the Coral Springs polling place today. "I would never put my wife up for this again, ever. It's very, very upsetting. They can attack me, but why my wife? She was two minutes away from picking up my little boy. That bothers me a lot."
His wife is similarly shaken.
"I can't even tell my mother, who is 83," said Karen Bernstein. "If she knew this happened, she would have a stroke."