The state GOP fires back quickly after Republican state Sen. Harri Anne Smith’s endorses Democrat Bobby Bright in the AL-02 race this morning. This email to the state GOP Executive Committee members went out during lunch. The emphasis is in the original.
From: John Ross
Sent: Oct 20, 2008 12:15 PM
Subject: ***Important Election Alert***
Executive Committee Members,
Today is a very sad day in Alabama. Republican State Senator Harri Ann Smith has publically endorsed Democrat Bobby Bright in the race for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District. As you may recall, she lost in a very heated run-off to our nominee Jay Love back in July.
To make matters worse, her endorsement came with a price tag of $150,000. I received a call from her former campaign manager a couple of weeks ago. He told me Bright had offered to pay off her campaign debt in exchange for her endorsement and if the ALGOP couldn’t come up with the same amount, she would accept the deal. As you can imagine, we don’t intend to a part of any shady “backroom” deals and refused to be blackmailed. Well, true to their word, the deal took place and she made the endorsement.
Each of you need to be fully aware of this situation and spread the word of this unconscionable act to everyone you know. This is extremely disheartening. However, it should only strengthen our resolve as Republicans and motivate us as we move toward Election Day.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.
John C.M. Ross
Alabama Republican Party
Former state GOP Executive Director Bill Harris is the Harri Anne Smith campaign adviser that party officials are saying called Ross.
State GOP Chair Mike Hubbard released this statement this afternoon:
“The circumstances surrounding this endorsement should eliminate all credibility from today’s announcement. Harri Anne Smith shopped her endorsement around, offered the Alabama Republican Party the opportunity to purchase her support, and we declined. It is unfortunate that Bobby Bright is so desperate for support that he is willing to pay top dollar for it, and by doing so, Bright is showing once again that he will say and do anything to get elected.”
Update: Lance Griffin is on top of this at the Dothan Eagle with comments from Bill Harris, Smith, and Bright.
Later Update: Bill Harris’s former party title has been corrected.