When Soldotna resident Deirdre Coval walked out of her house Monday morning, she expected, like with any other day, to shovel some snow off her car before heading to work. Unfortunately, underneath the snow she discovered obscene images spray-painted on the back of her car as well as the phrase “repubicans rule” painted on the side.
Coval believes that this was not a random act of vandalism, but that she was possibly targeted for ideological reasons. Coval actively voices her opinions on the issues facing the state and the nation via Facebook, and she speculated that her latest criticisms of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget on the social media site were potentially what motivated the vandal to act. “When people allow their ego to take hold, attacks on ideas can be taken personally,” said Coval.
Although she has never received so much as a threatening email before now, Coval is no stranger to heated political debates. “I don’t attack or insult people, but if your post isn’t true, I’ll call you on it,” said Coval.
Coval and her family have been active in politics for all of her life. Her grandfather was a cousin of Ronald Reagan’s, and Coval has personally worked with nonpartisan groups as well as campaigns and administrations spanning both sides of the aisle. Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, and Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai/Soldotna, both reached out to Coval to offer their sympathies and both told her that no one in the community should let politics drive them to damage property or harm another person, Coval said.
Coval reported the vandalism to the Soldotna Police and Peninsula Crime Stoppers that morning, and said it cost her almost $300 to get the graffiti removed. Police do not currently have any leads on a suspect, although Coval said that they were looking at the possibility of the incident being politically motivated.
Anyone with information regarding the incident or potential suspects can submit an anonymous tip with crime stoppers at 907-283-8477.