The Journal Gazette
Saturday, October 12, 2019 1:00 am

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Seeing red: GOP at war in Huntington

For campaign drama this season, it's tough to beat the mayoral contest in Huntington, a deep-red community where GOP infighting continues well into the general election.

How heated is it? Republican Mayor Brooks Fetters was recently kicked out of the Republican Party.

Fetters received a letter dated Sept. 27 and signed by Rise Buzzard, chair of the Huntington County Republican Party, and two other party officials. Buzzard is the wife of Larry Buzzard, who defeated Fetters in the May primary on his third attempt to win the mayoral nomination. 

But the two-term incumbent did not throw his support to his challenger, which seems to have prompted his banishment from the party. Fetters is supporting Richard Strick, a Republican city councilman who dropped his reelection bid to run for mayor as an independent. 

“After the primary, you either get on board with your party's nominee or you file a petition to run as an independent,” Strick told the Herald-Press of Huntington in July. “George Washington was right – we can't let loyalty to a party or a person outweigh loyalty to the greater good of the community. My loyalty is to Huntington.”

The letter kicking Fetters out of the party cites Indiana Republican Party committee rules regarding good standing in the party.

“Due to your recent public activities against the Party and its nominees, you are no longer considered a member in good standing of the Republican Party,” according to the letter. Strick was kicked out of the party, as well.

Larry Buzzard, meanwhile, was drawing criticism for his Twitter posts.

WPTA-TV reported this week that the Republican mayoral candidate commented on a CNN discussion about impeachment in July: “The young female panelist has on a very pretty dress. Not much brain matter....but a very nice dress.” On a post from someone writing that he would vote for Democrats Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren for president, Buzzard replied, “Well, you're a dumbass.”

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