Cochran Supporter Accused Of Destroying, Stealing Campaign Signs - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Cochran Supporter Accused Of Destroying, Stealing Campaign Signs

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (FOX13) - Lee Blair, a high ranking DeSoto County, Miss., Republican has stepped down for allegedly destroying and stealing State Sen. Chris McDaniel campaign signs. He was also fired as a Cochran campaign worker.

Blair turned himself into Southaven Police Monday after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He's accused of malicious mischief involving political yard signs supporting State Sen. McDaniel, who is in Tuesday's primary runoff with U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination.

MORE: Cochran-McDaniel Runoff Vote Might Come Down To DeSoto Co.
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MORE: McDaniel, Cochran Hold Campaign Events Before Tuesday's Run-Off Election


According to DeSoto County GOP President Kevin Blackwell, Blair resigned from his position as vice president of the DeSoto County Republican Club and the county GOP Executive Board Monday morning.

Cochran campaign manager Jordan Russell responded by saying, "He's fired. Unlike Chris McDaniel, we don't tolerate this type of behavior."

Blair had a couple of messages before he got in a car quickly and sped off. First of all, he wanted to remind DeSoto County residents and all Mississippians to vote Tuesday, and as he drove off, he gave us all a big thumbs up.

MORE: FOX13's Voter's Guide

Blair said he tendered his resignations to stop damage to the Republican club and the GOP in DeSoto County.

DOWNLOAD: Charging documents against Lee Blair

While leaving the police department after being booked on charges of malicious mischief for allegedly destroying a chris mcdaniel sign and stealing six others, Blair was brief with the media.

"I want to remind you to vote tomorrow," he said. "No comment, no thank you ... No I didn't (steal any signs) ... No I didn't (crumple up any signs)."

According to a police report a witness who is also a volunteer for the McDaniel campaign saw a man who was identified as Blair leaving a truck near a Pops Express gas station on Church Road.

"I saw the passenger jump out of his vehicle and go over and pick up with the Chris McDaniel sign and wad it up and went back into his truck," the witness told FOX13 News.

The witness said Blair told him a prominent county land owner told him to pick up the signs and that he had permission to do so. 

"The driver actually provided a witness testimony for police that backs up our story and our pictures," the man said.
 
The witness also told police that Blair threw the crumpled up McDaniel campaign sign at him. The witness also said he followed the truck Blair was in down the road where he approached more signs.

"At that time he came back to the window of my truck and told me that he was a retired police officer and that the signs were a code violation," the witness said. "He said either I was going to pick them up or he was going to pick him up. At that point I called the police and they filed a report."
 
A Southaven Police report said they located six other McDaniel campaign signs in the back of the truck Blair was in. The witness has given several photographs of the evidence to the police department as well, including one that he says is of Blair holding the crumpled up sign just minutes before he allegedly threw it at him.
 
"We never dreamed that it would be one of the DeSoto County campaign managers for the Cochran campaign picking up the signs and tossing them away," the man said.
 
"I have tendered my resignation from the Executive committee and Republican Club effective immediately," Blair said in a statement to FOX13 News. "I decided to resign my position with these two organizations to keep from causing damage to those great institutions. The accusations against me will be settled in court after the election and I remain confidant (sp) and hopeful for the future."

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