Published April 7, 2016 by Corey Jones (Tulsa World)
TULSA, OK – An email from the leader of the local Republican Party to losers of the March 1 sheriff primary asked each former candidate to refrain from campaigning against Vic Regalado during the vacated term’s election cycle or risk damaging their relationship with the party.
A result of that email could be that a potentially strong primary challenger to Tulsa County Sheriff-elect Vic Regalado for the four-year term might not receive perks as a Republican Party member, such as “access to data” for primary campaigns.
The email dated March 16 came from Mike Ford, chairman of the Republican Party of Tulsa County. Former Republican sheriff candidate John Fitzpatrick provided the correspondence to the Tulsa World on Thursday afternoon, labeling it a “threat” against himself and the other candidates who came up short in the March 1 primary.
In a phone interview Thursday, Ford called his email “clear,” “professional” and “to the point” but not “threatening.”
Ford said Luke Sherman, who announced his candidacy Wednesday for the four-year term’s June primary, proceeded with campaigning despite the email. Whether Sherman is privy to party benefits is “open for discussion,” Ford said.
“He did cross that line,” Ford said.
Sherman said during a news conference a day before that he was being “chastised” and told not to “communicate with people that I’ve talked to in the past” but that he did “stand still” as asked.
“I’ll do that in respect for the Republican Party, which we did,” Sherman said. “But I don’t feel that was equal on both sides.”
The email in question acknowledges appreciation for those who ran as Republicans but that the organization’s responsibility is to support the party’s nominee. Other Republicans campaigning for the four-year term while the race unfolded for the special general election on April 5 to fill the vacated term of Stanley Glanz “confuses voters” and “dilutes and minimizes” the party’s influence, according to the email.
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