BILOXI, Mississippi — A staffer for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)’s (R-MS) re-election campaign was fired after he was arrested and accused by police of stealing campaign signs for Cochran’s primary opponent, state senator Chris McDaniel.
Lee Ellis Blair, a member of the DeSoto County GOP executive committee and Cochran campaign staffer, was arrested late Sunday and charged with “malicious mischief,” according to a partially redacted copy of the police report provided to Breitbart News.
“He’s fired. Unlike Chris McDaniel, we don’t tolerate that type of behavior,” said Cochran’s spokesman, Jordan Russell, in an email.
The police report alleged Blair “did willfully, unlawfully and maliciously or mischievously disfigure, destroy, injure (or cause to be) a Chris McDaniel campaign sign, the personal property of Tea Party Express.
Blair’s Facebook page is filled with photographs he took of Cochran throughout the campaign with other DeSoto County GOP leaders.
He is identified by a local news outlet as a “field rep” for the Cochran campaign.
Photographs of signs he allegedly tore down and destroyed include FreedomWorks signs for McDaniel and calling to “Retire Thad” and a Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund sign noting they endorsed McDaniel.
Mitch Tyner, a Jackson-based attorney and McDaniel supporter who ran against former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in the 2003 gubernatorial primary, told Breitbart News that Blair is a paid staffer of the Cochran campaign and is also the vice chairman of the DeSoto County Republican Club.
Blair has not responded to a request for comment.
Russell has argued in recent days–including in a comment he provided to the Washington Post’s Robert Costa after midnight late Sunday evening–that McDaniel is “unfit for office.”
Russell’s comment came in response to a Facebook posting that McDaniel published in response to Cochran’s daughter criticizing him. “Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)’s daughter had the audacity to write this, in an attempt to criticize me,” McDaniel wrote with a photograph of Kate Cochran’s comments about him–that McDaniel “relies solely on Jesus, the Constitution and common sense.” The image includes two hash tags–#ThankYouKate and #Who’sYaDaddy.
In the Facebook post, Cochran’s daughter says she is losing her faith in the people of Mississippi because they might not reelect her father.