TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – Tippecanoe Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 135 President, Jason Huber, calls Tippecanoe County Sheriff candidate Barry Richard’s reaction to the lodge’s endorsement of his opponent Dave Heath “irresponsible and disappointing.”
Sunday afternoon, one month before the primary election, the FOP released a statement stating members of the lodge voted to endorse Heath for sheriff.
“To me, personally, it’s very important,” Heath told News 18 on Sunday. “I think to have the endorsement of the people who are really out there. The ones who do the work, every day, day in and day out, it’s very important to me that they feel that way.”
When it was Richard’s turn to react to the endorsement, he called it a political ploy.
“The major on the sheriff’s department, Charlie Williams Sr., is a major contributor to the Heath campaign,” Richard said on Sunday. “Charlie Williams Sr.’s son-in-law, Jason Huber, is the president of their lodge.”
Richard also said Huber told him in February the lodge was not going to endorse a candidate.
Monday morning Huber released a statement responding to Richard’s reaction on News 18.
He said he never told Heath or Richard that the lodge was not going to endorse a candidate. He said when the candidates visited the lodge on its Candidate Night, he told them the lodge would not endorse a candidate that night.
Huber said at the lodge’s March meeting a motion was passed with two-thirds majority vote to make an endorsement. Then, a ballot with both candidates’ names was passed out. Huber said Heath got the most votes. The candidate needed two-thirds of the votes.
In response to Richard’s claim that Huber was influenced by his father-in-law Maj. Williams, Huber said the comments were “irresponsible and disappointing.”
He said Williams’ donations to Heath did not play a part in the vote. Williams is not a member of the FOP.
In the statement Huber said, “As president of our lodge, I am not permitted to make any motions, thus did not make this motion. I oversaw the discussion and voting process, and that was it. I have no agenda in this matter other than to fulfill my responsibility as president, and see the FOP’s best interest is upheld to our highest standards.”
Huber said he stands behind the lodge’s vote.