Reporters saw a 'Democrats for Trump' billboard in Philadelphia and asked questions about it. Then it went away

©The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA – Inquirer reporters spotted a pair of complications when we spied the brief lifespan of a “Democrats for Trump” billboard on Ridge Avenue, at the southern end of the Roxborough area in Philadelphia last week.

First, the disclaimer for who paid for it — required by state and federal law — said it’s the local Republican ward who put up the money, not the Democrats who are purportedly fans of President Donald Trump.

Second, Walt Vogler, the Republican leader of the 21st Ward, said he had nothing to do with it. Even though reporters informed him the billboard says, “Paid for by 21st Ward GOP” — the name of his ward’s political action committee.

“Absolutely not,” Vogler said. “I know nothing about it.”

Adding to the mystery, the billboard vanished after the Inquirer starting asking questions about it. By Saturday, it had been replaced with an advertisement about lowering blood pressure.

Vogler said the billboard was “absolutely” a violation of state law requiring accurate attribution for political advertising.

Clear Channel Outdoor, the billboard owner, did not respond to requests for information.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in the ward, 67% to 19%. Trump won 27% of the vote there in 2016.

Lou Agre, the Democratic ward leader, smells shenanigans in the wind.

“If there is really a Democrat for Trump in the 21st Ward he’s the only one,” Agre said.

Maybe someone felt envious of the Republican Voters Against Trump effort, reported recently by the Inquirer, posting more than 130 billboards across Pennsylvania with messages from Republicans explaining why they are voting for former Vice President Joe Biden.

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©2020 The Philadelphia Inquirer