A Republican congressional candidate in Florida is fighting to keep a Christmas lights display on his balcony that reads “Let’s Go Brandon.”
Martin Hyde, a former professional soccer player-turned-business-owner, is a resident of Sarasota, Florida. He is campaigning to represent the state’s 16th congressional district against current Representative Vern Buchanan.
His Christmas display, featuring the viral catchphrase meant as a critique of President Joe Biden, violates his homeowners’ associations regulations which do not permit signs.
The nine-inch tall letters, which Hyde purchased from Amazon, are displayed next to an inflatable Santa Claus on his home’s second-story balcony near downtown Sarasota.
The candidate contends that the letters are decorative lights and do not constitute a sign.
Every day Hyde keeps the display up, he is fined $150, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
“It’s fully in keeping with my personality and my campaign,” Hyde told the newspaper. “Anybody who doesn’t like it, it’s one street. … don’t come.”
The candidate also expressed his surprise at the tension the display has caused.
“Did I know it was provocative? Absolutely,” Hyde said. “Did I expect it to take on this level? No.”
Hyde has denied that the Christmas display is a planned effort to gain media attention for his campaign. However, he has said he plans to unveil a larger display on Dec. 22, while playing music and passing out free pizza, beer and wine from his campaign bus.
The Herald-Tribune says Hyde is “known for being provocative and outspoken” and has “embraced ‘Let’s Go Brandon’” in his bid to defeat Buchanan.
President Donald Trump endorsed Buchanan on Dec. 19.
“Congressman Vern Buchanan is a terrific representative of the people of Florida,” Trump said in his statement. “Vern has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
“Hyde has questioned Buchanan’s conservative credentials” and “has emphasized Buchanan’s willingness to support modest gun control measures,” reported the Herald-Tribune.
Hyde hired Rodger Stone, a former Trump advisor, as a campaign consultant. He has also been endorsed by Trump’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn.
Hyde, a Trump supporter, has said the display will remain up through Christmas regardless of the HOA’s fine.
“They may well fine me $150 a day. It’s not really a terrible concern to me,” he said. “I will take it down when the holidays are over. I’ll take it down when it suits me.”