The infamous Noel Fritsch strikes again.
Yes, the same Noel Fritsch of 2014 Mississippi Senate campaign fame who just won’t go away.
The same Noel Fritsch who more recently used the National Association for Gun Rights to send mailers attacking Republican legislative candidates and whose group was fined for seeking donations and avoiding registering with the state as required by law.
Now Fritsch has chosen to take on Mississippi Republican Party chair Joe Nosef and Gov. Phil Bryant over a private text conversation between Nosef and Donald Trump state chair Mitch Tyner. Nosef and Tyner are acquaintances.
How Fritsch came to obtain the text messages has yet to be determined. A question sent to Tyner via Twitter asking how this came to be has yet to receive a reply.
However, it would appear that Fritsch shopped a story around claiming Nosef and Gov. Bryant were threatening to have Trump and Ted Cruz supporters hauled out of the upcoming county caucuses based on the text messages. Not surprisingly, a few hard up sources who love to stir half truths finally bit.
LifeZette, a fairly new website started by radio personality Laura Ingraham, grabbed the story and inflated it from the very first line, writing, “LifeZette has obtained evidence that supporters of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in Mississippi have been threatened with possible arrest should they refuse to elect pro-Establishment delegates to the state’s GOP convention on April 23.”
The piece went on to quote Fritsch as saying, “Establishment Republicans in Mississippi will stop at nothing to keep conservatives out of the political process, whether it’s buying votes for Thad Cochran, or threatening to arrest conservatives with arrest for supporting Donald Trump or Ted Cruz,” Fritsch said. “Under the leadership of Phil Bryant, Tate Reeves, and Speaker Gunn, Mississippi’s political process is nominally more free than your average banana republic dictatorship,” he continued.
Fritsch knows how to sound like an authority on issues he knows little to nothing about, facts and context be damned. But that’s nothing new for him.
The text messages between Tyner and Nosef were more of a friendly banter between the two. Nosef likely was a little loose in his tone given their relationship and perhaps due to his frustration with how the Trump and Cruz camp remain at odds which negatively effects the party as a whole. Yet even still, Nosef laid out a strong position where all candidates were to be treated fairly and to set the tone where shenanigans (of which we’ve seen from these persons on more than one occasion) would not be tolerated.
To claim that Nosef was insinuating that Gov. Bryant and he were in some manner attempting to rig the system is outlandish and conspiratorial, but yet it does play right into the distorted narrative Fritsch and others like him continue to spin after being slapped around royally over the past few years.
And the far right fringe and social media trolls have taken the bait hook, line and sinker.
When asked for comment on the accusations, Nosef responded to Y’all Politics by saying, “This angle and this story is the opposite of the truth. I was expressing frustration because the two campaigns local leadership had no interest in working with us to ensure they didn’t end up in Cleveland in a delegate fight with each other about delegates.”
Nosef continued, “Secondly the part about security at the state convention is there because our people deserve and expect that we will have a professional, secure environment. No one will use our state convention to grandstand or try to intimidate people into voting a certain way. We owe it to our people for them to be safe.”
In any other sane dimension, having a state party chairman declare that he will seek to have a fair process without intimidation and grandstanding of those in attendance at the county caucus level would be appreciated.
But in Fritsch’s world and now those on his conspiratorial bandwagon such a strong view is seen as threatening or attempting to tip the system in some way.
UPDATE: Mitch Tyner, sounding out of breath and on the defensive, told Paul Gallo in an interview on SuperTalk Friday morning that he himself sent the messages to Fritsch. Tyner went on to say that he wouldn’t call him “Lyin’ Joe” but that “Disingenuous Joe” must go as state party chair.