Mayor Gets Death Threats & So Do His Supporters
SANGER, Calif. (KMPH) —
Business owners in Sanger are speaking out after receiving anonymous letters and phone calls, threatening them that their windows would be smashed if they continue to support one specific candidate for mayor.
With less than a day until voters head to the polls, the city of Sanger's mayoral race is heating up.
Is it just small town politics or something more serious?
For 43 years, Jeff Wise and his family have owned and operated Warranty Electronics in downtown Sanger.
He's seen elections come and go, but never before has he ever been threatened for supporting one candidate over another, that is until now.
Jeff Wise says, "You don't mess with businesses in Sanger because of politics, I think that is so low so bully like and so wrong."
Jeff found a letter under his door in a sealed envelope with "FYI" on the outside.
Inside, a copy of a recent newspaper story that discloses so-called election code complaints facing incumbent Mayor Joshua Mitchell.
Someone also wrote, "I am not a crook."
But just minutes after Jeff arrived to work and read the letter he then received a phone call. In a muffled voice it said you better remove that Mitchell for Mayor Sign from your window otherwise your window will be shattered. Jeff took it down but says he is disgusted by the small town politics.
Jeff Wise says, "I got a family, this is my small business, I don't make a lot of money, and then I get threats breaking my windows, just because I support someone I believe in."
Joshua Mitchell says, "Over the past week, we've had multiple hate mails that have come into city hall, multiple hate mail that come in the form of death threats to my office, and residential home. I've had my house vandalized; I've had my tires slashed."
With just hours before casting his vote himself, mayoral candidate, incumbent Joshua Mitchell walks around Sanger with a bullet proof vest.
Joshua Mitchell says, "It feels like the wild, wild west, it feels like whoever is standing up at the end of gun battle is the one that is going to be the victor here."
Mayor Mitchell says he's taking it as a compliment of what he's doing right for the city.
He says if they have to attack him personally, and not attack his vision and decisions he's made, then he feels he's doing something right.
Mayor Mitchell says, "We've turn the corner for this city. We've taken the city from the worst credit rating in the United States of America to the third highest in the Fresno County region. We've seen our unemployment drop, foreclosures have dropped, and sales tax revenues have gone up by 15 percent.
Mitchell is running against Sanger City Council member Victor Ruiz, realtor Adrian Villarreal, and insurance agent Randy Guerra.