WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – New developments Monday night in what has turned out to be the most bitter local political race by far this political season, the Washington County Tennessee mayoral race.
Mark Ferguson faces Joe Grandy and David Tomita in the race for the Republican Nomination for County Mayor.
For weeks, the campaign has been bitter. But Monday, we learned one of the candidates has filed an ethics complaint with the state.
Mayor Candidate Joe Grandy says his campaign filed an ethics complaint with the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.
Grandy’s campaign is alleging “probable illegal coordination” between a political action committee and the campaign of Grandy’s opponent Mark Ferguson.
In the complaint, Grandy references a robocall made against him and he singles out two members of the political action committee called “Taxpayers Fighting Back in Washington County.”
He says there’s evidence they’ve been actively involved in the PAC while working as agents of the Ferguson campaign.
“It just needs to stop. It’s in clear violation of election law and it needs to be pointed out. You can’t just have these elections run haphazardly with no rules,” Grandy said Monday night.
By phone Monday, candidate Mark Ferguson said his campaign is not connected to the “Taxpayers Fighting Back in Washington County PAC”.
“I just want the voters to know that I’ve tried to be honest and upfront with them. I can’t help with other people do or PACs do. I’m running my own campaign and any literature that I have put out, they can fact check me, everything I’ve said and done have been from resolutions in the county and facts,” Ferguson said.
A statement issued Monday by the political action committee supporting Mark Ferguson said Ferguson has nothing do with the group “Taxpayers Fighting Back”.
Alpha Bridger, who’s named in the ethics complaint, said “We have a constitutional right to support the candidate of our choosing. We are proud to support the only true conservative running for Washington County Mayor, Mark Ferguson.”
The other person mentioned in the complaint – Washington County Commission candidate Kent Harris.
He’s a member of the Taxpayers Fighting Back in Washington County PAC.
Monday, he told us the group plans to file its own complaint calling the Grandy ethics violation accusation – quote “frivolous.”