Neutral no more: GOP attacks one of its own

On Friday, Mississippi’s representative to the Republican National Committee, Henry Barbour — who had been neutral in the race – opened fire on fundraising frontrunner David Landrum after Landrum suggested a long-time GOP worker may have stolen Landrum’s affidavit ballot in the 2003 Republican primary in Hinds County.

In an e-mail to Republicans, Barbour accused Landrum of “attacking the ‘foot soldiers’ of the party in an effort to move the focus off of him. … If he makes the runoff, I would not be surprised to see him effectively try to purchase our nomination. I hope y’all will join me in working to make sure that does not happen.”

Landrum – who has raised nearly $1 million, much of it his own money – responded Friday: “I grew up in Jones County, where I learned to stand up for myself. And that is what I’m going to do. I am not a politician, but I understand that Republicans are going to support different candidates in this race, but I believe this has gone to a new low.”

The brouhaha began a few weeks back when fellow candidate John Rounsaville said Landrum hadn’t voted in seven years.

Landrum responded he and his wife, Jill, had voted for Gov. Haley Barbour in every election they could since 2003 and pointed to signatures in the Hinds County voters register as proof.

But The Clarion-Ledger discovered two signatures he said were his wife’s actually belonged to other people.

Two days later, Landrum’s campaign said none of the signatures belonged to the couple and that the news release was sent out “without David’s knowledge and approval. It never occurred to either David or Jill to verify the signatures. David accepts responsibility for an honest mistake.”

Landrum and his wife have said they voted by affidavit ballot in 2003 in Hinds County in both the Republican primary and general election.

Clarion Ledger