Evans attorney Wright McLeod, who finished third in the July 31 Republican primary for Congress, is endorsing first-place finisher Lee Anderson in Tuesday’s runoff.
McLeod came up a few hundred votes short of beating Augusta businessman Rick W. Allen for the second-place spot in the GOP primary for the 12th Congressional District seat.
McLeod, a retired Navy veteran, said Anderson subscribes to the same principle of “service over self” and has never run for office for personal enrichment.
“I’m not a guy who ducks questions, and the answer to the question is I’m going to vote for Lee Anderson,” McLeod said, denying speculation that he’s supporting Anderson in hopes of winning the seat in 2014.
“Wright McLeod said during the primary that he would support the nominee,” Allen’s campaign said in a statement. “I believe him and look forward to working with him over the next three months to defeat John Barrow.”
Advance voting in Tuesday’s runoff is under way across the 19 counties of the district.
McLeod and Anderson sparred before the primary when Anderson discounted McLeod’s military service.
Anderson, a state representative and farmer from Grovetown, said Thursday that he was honored to have McLeod’s support.
“Wright is a patriot who has served this nation with courage and selflessness,” he said.
Fourth-place finisher Maria Sheffield also endorsed Anderson.
Allen and McLeod both bear strong west Augusta ties and bickered often during the campaign. Allen’s campaign manager, Scott Paradise, filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission over McLeod’s campaign finance disclosures, which the FEC later ordered McLeod to amend.
McLeod backer Dave Barbee, a former Republican Party official, said the digs Allen took in the campaign likely prompted McLeod to back Anderson.
“I think Wright’s upset with the ethics complaint,” Barbee said. “My advice to him … was to not endorse anybody.”
Barbee said McLeod will have to spend time and money resolving the issues raised in the complaint.
“This is nothing compared to what Barrow will try to do to our nominee,” Barbee said.