Oxford Mayoral Race: Local GOP Chair Openly Supported Dem
Earlier this morning, I took interest in this picture that appeared on the Save the GOP blog. This picture showed the house of Lafayette County GOP Chairman Lew Yoder with yard signs for Democrat mayoral candidate Pat Patterson.
Howie Morgan, campaign manager for Ken McCullough- the GOP candidate for mayor, e-mailed me to let me know that it was in fact true that Yoder supported Patterson, and it was certainly out in the open. According to Morgan, Yoder said Patterson was “like a second father to me.”
Morgan did not necessarily take issue just with Yoder supporting a Democrat, but with the fact that he did not step down from his post as head of the county party. “In the past whenever someone on the local GOP Committee in Oxford was going to openly support a Democrat, they demanded that the member submit a temporary leave of absence…I should know, as I did that twice,” said Morgan. “But this time Lew gave himself a pass on that motion. Maybe Lew skipped that Ethics class in law school regarding conflict of interest?”
Also, it looks like state GOP chairman Brad White- who has sent resources to recruit candidates in Lafayette County in the past- was in the know on this and gave Yoder a pass.
Morgan also said that Yoder cancelled all local party fundraisers, gave less PAC money to candidates than they received in 2005, and demanded that no local executive committee members support the Republican candidate. Further, Ole Miss Basketball Coach Andy Kennedy held a fundraiser, yet no executive committee members showed up and only two of those members donated to McCullough. “Can you imagine Kennedy making that bold a public stance for the GOP and NOT getting GOP support,” Morgan asked.
According to Morgan, Yoder hid his support for Patterson until another GOP candidate spotted the Democrat’s signs in his yard about a month ago. They had two sit down meetings and several phone calls- including one instance where Morgan offered internal polling to Yoder- when they believed Yoder was on their side, but was really supporting Patterson.