Stanislaus County Supervisor Terry Withrow has withdrawn his endorsement of Ted Howze, Republican candidate for congress in California Congressional District 10 (CA-10). Howze, rocked by revelations of hateful and racist posts on his social media accounts, has denied he made the posts. But after news about an official rebuke from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Howze faced a rapidly eroding base of support.
“I asked around with people I know, and I’m pulling my endorsement,” said Withrow early Thursday morning.
Probably best known for his leadership on the county’s “Focus on Prevention” program to help people experiencing homelessness, Withrow’s earlier support for Howze raised eyebrows among people familiar with Howze’s long record of misleading statements, lies, and hateful remarks. The supervisor’s withdrawal of support seems much more in character.
After learning of Howze’s most recent posts, former Turlock City Councilmember Mary Jackson posted the following message on her Facebook page:
“If you still have one of his yard signs up in your yard, please unfriend me. I…am…NOT…joking…Ted Howze was made to apologize to me privately, when we both served on the Turlock City Council, because of blatant lies he said about me in print. It would be called libel if I wasn’t an elected official. Howze’s values and statements do not belong in our community, it is the minority opinion. The majority of Stanislaus County and Turlock residents and voters do not agree with his racist positions…I will personally ask our Mayor, Amy Bublak why she has not pulled her endorsement of his campaign! I would prefer to do it in person, and will ask to attend the next City Council meeting in person. Feel free to share, I am at the “enough is enough” point!”
In addition to the rebuke from Minority Leader McCarthy, Howze has been removed from the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” website. Even during the CA-10 primary, Howze’s official support from the Republican Party was tepid. Fellow Republican Bob Elliot, who ultimately lost to Howze, said he ran in part because he was urged to by party officials.
Terry Withrow may be the most widely respected elected official in Stanislaus County, and CA-10. His withdrawn endorsement will likely put pressure on other local leaders who have endorsed Howze, especially Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold and City Councilmember Bill Zoslocki. Zoslocki is a candidate for Supervisor Kristen Olsen’s seat in Stanislaus County’s District 1; Olsen is stepping down at the end of this term.
Earlier in May, when asked about Howze’s posts, Brandvold issued a statement saying,
“With all the political garbage I read on social media I’m not sure what is real anymore.”
But after a rebuke from Kevin McCarthy and a withdrawn endorsement by Supervisor Withrow, Mayor Brandvold may have to reconsider, “what is real.” Ted Howze’s long record of hateful statements is too well-documented for anyone to ignore. Decent people everywhere, especially local leaders, need to take firm stands when the nation’s values and virtues are under attack.