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Controversial billboard getting attention in Escambia County

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WEAR3TV March 25, 2019

A billboard on W Street near Fairfield Drive in Escambia County is certainly a head turner. The sign features an old DUI mugshot of Congressman Matt Gaetz, with a red background and the word ‘GOP’, but the “O” is replaced with the notorious sickle and hammer used by the Soviet Union.

The symbolism is likely a reference to the Russia investigation, looking into possible collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia during the campaign. Special Counsel Robert Mueller completed the years-long investigation March 22, without any further indictments.

WEAR spoke to Billy Snowden Jr., who owns an auto detailing store across from the billboard. He said he saw it go up the end of last week.

As far as his reaction, Snowden Jr. said he tries to remain neutral and not support or go against either political arguments. He said he isn’t a big supporter of Matt Gaetz, but believes this billboard is just another sign of how divisive politics has become.

"We say we look for a better way, yet there's always a problem with something we have to say, but we don't look for ways to solve solutions. We look for ways to cause problems, that's my belief,” Snowden Jr. said.

The billboard was put up by the Mad Dog Political Action Committee, which is vocal against the Trump administration. Chairman Claude Taylor tells Channel 3 News the intention of the billboard is to get attention, spread controversy and raise awareness about its issues with President Trump.

Taylor said Congressman Gaetz is targeted in this because he’s “Trump’s cheerleader.”

“One of the goals is bring public awareness to the issues we are talking about, most especially to the fact Congressman Matt Gaetz is Donald Trump's toady thus Vladamir Putin's,” Taylor said.

When asked if there were any concerns the billboard may upset some people, Taylor said he hopes it does.

Channel 3 News reached out to Congressman Gaetz and sent him a picture of the billboard for his response but have not heard back.

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