Supporters rally around huge 'Trump Won' banner on 30A home, calling it a 'symbol of hope'

Jim Thompson
Northwest Florida Daily News

SEAGROVE BEACH — About a dozen local Republicans showed up at Marvin Peavy's home along Walton County Road 30A on Sunday to defend what they see as the Georgia businessman's right to keep a massive "Trump Won" banner hanging for three stories down the side of his house.

"This sign is a symbol of hope. It's a beacon," gushed Walton County Republican Party official Bonnie McQuiston as she introduced herself to Peavy at Sunday's gathering.

It was an article of faith among the group gathered at Peavy's house that Donald Trump had won re-election last year, only to be cheated out of that victory by an array of electoral irregularities.

How it started: 30A property owner hangs 'Trump Won' banner on home despite fines

Among the supposed irregularities cited in conversations with the group were late-counted ballots that gave Democratic candidate Joe Biden the presidency after earlier returns had indicated that Trump was headed to a second term as president.

The Associated Press addressed that assertion in a story published four days after the 2020 election, noting that the "change in fortunes ... is explained by the nature of vote counting in the states, ... ."

Supporters of Walton County Road 30A resident Marvin Peavy stand outside his home Sunday with pro-Donald Trump banners. About a dozen local Republicans are supporting Peavy in his effort to keep a "Trump Won" banner on the side of his home. Peavy was found in violation of county sign regulations last week and ordered to pay a $50 per day fine if the sign was not removed by Monday. According to Peavy, the banner remains in place, and will be joined by another banner later this week.

The AP story explained that "(o)ften, big cities are slower to report their numbers, and those votes tend to skew Democratic. Likewise, many states tend to count mail-in ballots at the end of the process. That portion of the vote tended to favor Biden, particularly because Trump urged his supporters in advance to avoid mail-in voting and to vote in person either early or on Election Day."   

Peavy, a Georgia real estate and property management business owner who lives four days each week in the nearly 7,000-square-foot, $4.4-million house just east of Seaside, hung the banner in March.

Supporters of Seagrove Beach homeowner Marvin Peavy sit Sunday under the massive "Trump Won" banner for which Peavy was found in violation of a Walton County signage regulation. As of Monday, the banner remained in place, and Peavy is mandated to pay a $50 per day fine for as long as it remains on his home.

By June, he'd heard from a county code enforcement officer, and in July a notice was sent to him that he had violated a provision of the county land development code restricting signage along 30A under its local designation as a scenic corridor.

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The case went in front of a county magistrate hearing last week, where Peavy was found to be in violation of the scenic corridor signage provision. He was ordered to take the sign down by Monday or pay a $50 per day fine, a fraction of the $250 per day maximum fine which could have been imposed.

The banner remained on the side of Peavy's house on Monday, a day after he had all but dared county officials to enforce the magistrate's sanction.

"You're telling me the Walton County Sheriff's Office is going to come and take my sign down?" Peavy taunted Sunday as the contingent of local Republicans stood by the road in front of his home.

Peavy said Monday that he called a county code official to find out where to send his fine payments.

"They didn't know," he claimed, adding that the people in the code office to whom he spoke "were awful squirrelly, if you know what I mean."

A Monday call to Walton County Code Enforcement Director Tony Cornman was referred to Steve Hall, the county's land-use attorney, who was not immediately available for comment early Monday afternoon.   

About a dozen local Republicans gathered along Walton County Road 30A on Sunday in support of Marvin Peavy, a homeowner cited for violating a county signage regulation for a massive "Trump Won" banner hanging from his residence. Peavy has been ordered to pay a $50 per day fine for every day the banner remains in place.

Further challenging the county, Peavy declared Sunday that on this upcoming Saturday, he'll be hanging a second banner at his house, reading "Let's go, Brandon!" The sign should be up by 3 a.m. Saturday, he said Monday.

The slogan is a circuitous reference disparaging President Joe Biden that had its origins at a recent NASCAR stock car race. The race was won by driver Brandon Brown, and in a post-race interview, race fans were heard apparently chanting "F*** Joe Biden," as Brown's interviewer gamely suggested they were chanting, "Let's go, Brandon!"  

If the "Seaside liberals" and "1% leftists" that Peavy has blamed for raising concerns about his sign were tweaked by Sunday's demonstration, there was no overt indication of it during the 90 minutes or so that the group stood alongside 30A before a steady rain began to fall.

To the contrary, the group got a lot of horn honks, fist pumps, and cheers from passing motorists as they waved signs and pro-Trump flags, dancing to a recording of "Y.M.C.A.," (the 1978 Village People hit that has become a signature of Trump's rallies), and occasionally chanting "Let's go, Brandon!"

A cardboard cutout of former President Donald Trump stands on a balcony of the Walton County Road 30A house owned by Georgia businessman Marvin Peavy. Peavy has been was found in violation of a local signage ordinance in connection with a "Trump Won" banner hanging elsewhere on his home.

A number of the local Republicans at Sunday's rally conflated the county's action under its land development code with an infringement of Peavy's free-speech rights, and many took it personally.

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"I think what we're feeling is our personal freedoms are being infringed upon," said Rick McQuiston. "... It's about what the sign says. That's why we're here ... because we think Trump has won."

Calvin Beard, who spent some time Sunday talking with Peavy, echoed the sentiment, saying he came "to support free speech." Like other people, Beard is backing up his support with cash by offering along with others to help pay the daily fine Peavy faces.

"I'm going to make a donation today," Beard said.

Peavy confirmed Monday that a number of people had offered to write checks to him to cover any upcoming fines, but he declined.

"I don't need any money," he said.

Among the more colorful characters at Sunday's gathering was Kevin Myers from nearby Inlet Beach, who stood on the side of 30A in a bathrobe and slippers emblazoned with the "Trump" brand that he'd purchased at a Trump hotel in Las Vegas.

"He's still our president," Myers said. "That's my belief. I still believe it today."

As evidence, he cited the fact that some election workers left early on election night as ballots were being counted in Georgia's Fulton County. There were a number of issues with voting in the Georgia county, but according to numerous media reports, none of those issues had any impact on the final vote tally.    

"The negative things going on in our country right now," Myers continued, reeling off issues like immigration and gas prices, "would not have happened under a Trump administration."

Peavy is politically active, having contributed nearly $10,000 to Trump-related and Republican-related entities during the 2020 campaign season. He is now working to help former University of Georgia football star Herschel Walker in Walker's bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia.

He said Sunday that, although he is worried about the country's future, he hasn't given much consideration to running for office himself.

"But I will if I have to," he said.