Sussex GOP apologizes after sending endorsement email

DOVER — The Sussex County Republican Party has some egg on its face after an “inappropriately released” email has one GOP candidate crying foul.

An email sent to a mailing list by the Sussex GOP Executive Committee Wednesday morning contained basic information about gubernatorial hopeful state Sen. Bryant Richardson, one of six Republicans vying for the party’s nomination for governor. In the afternoon, the executive committee released a new email, this one containing an apology from Sussex GOP Chairman Don Petitmermet for the prior correspondence.

“This message was inappropriately released. Our rules do not allow us to make such an endorsement, and I accept full responsibility for the post,” stated the correction from Mr. Petitmermet.

“Only the Delaware GOP may make an endorsement. Julianne Murray won that endorsement at Convention several weeks ago. The Murray campaign has requested a similar message be posted, and I have approved that in a sense of fairness. … I am establishing procedures to ensure it cannot occur again.

“Again, I accept full responsibility for this inappropriate message, and reiterate that the SCEC does not endorse or favor any Candidate in a primary until the voters have spoken.”

The second email also contained information about Ms. Murray.

In a statement, the Murray campaign bashed the initial email as “just the latest example of the inside politics that Delaware is tired of and another reason why Julianne Murray continues to win over voters in every location in Delaware.”

Delaware Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Brady said the party must ensure it treats all candidates equally ahead of the primary. A county party can, for instance, run an ad about a candidate but only if it offers the same opportunity to all other Republicans in the race.

Ms. Brady said she had not yet spoken with Mr. Petitmermet but believes the situation was just a mistake that occurred from not being clear on the rules.