July 14, 2014


Dirty Tricks, Tea Party Suicide and Rising Mississippi Anger : Mark Mayfield, a Tea Party Founder, Became the Unlikely Focus of a Big Controversy (CAMPBELL ROBERTSON, JULY 13, 2014, NY Times)

What shocked practically everyone is that Mr. Mayfield, routinely described as one of the nicest men in Jackson political circles, ended up at the center of all this. Democrats and the most ardent supporters of Mr. Cochran described his cordiality and even temper. This reputation was so widespread that Mr. Mayfield customarily served as a liaison between the Tea Party and the politicians it targeted.

"We've got a bunch of excitable people who identify with the Tea Party in Mississippi," said Bill Billingsley, who was involved in the McDaniel campaign. "Mark was the reasonable one." [...]

In recent years, Mr. Mayfield had grown uncomfortable with rhetorical excesses of some of his Tea Party allies and was unmoved by some of the hot-button issues of the day like Common Core education standards, friends said. But he appeared re-energized by Mr. McDaniel's Senate campaign.

"He was trying to do whatever he could," recalled Kim Wade, a Jackson-based talk-radio host. "He was all in."

On Sunday, April 20, Clayton Kelly, a little-known 28-year-old blogger, walked through the halls of St. Catherine's Village, a gated retirement community in the affluent suburb of Madison, and found Ms. Cochran's room in the wing for Alzheimer's patients. Mr. Kelly took a short video of her, lying on her bed in a nightgown, with his phone.

On April 26, he included photographs of her in a video on his blog, Constitutional Clayton, drawing a contrast between Mr. Cochran's life as a senator, recounting his travels with a longtime female aide, and the life of the senator's ailing wife. The video was taken down quickly, but not before it had drawn the attention of the Cochran campaign.

"It was a desperate and disgusting attempt to smear Senator Cochran's good name," said Austin Barbour, a senior Cochran campaign adviser.

Most people did not learn about the video until later, and when they did they were aghast.

"The last person who should have been brought into this campaign should have been Rose, because she was the most defenseless and had such dignity," said Brad White, a former chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party.

Posted by at July 14, 2014 3:30 PM

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