Yet another candidate has announced then quickly pulled out of the race for Travis County Democratic Party chair.
Mike Lewis announced in a statement on Facebook on Thursday that he is ending his campaign in light of the publication of a website that highlighted his previous Facebook posts and made a case that Lewis did not support the Democratic Party agenda.
“I am embarrassed and ashamed by several of the statements from my past,” his statement read. “I want to apologize to any of my supporters that I have let down by my careless words and posts.”
When reached by phone, Lewis declined to comment further.
The announcement comes a few weeks after the previous sole candidate, Rick Cofer, dropped out of the race less than a month after deciding to run. Days later, the Statesman reported on inappropriate incidents with women detailed in his Travis County attorney’s office personnel file.
The site featuring Lewis’ old Facebook posts, therealmikelewis.com, alleges that the posts show Lewis “supporting Republicans and segregationists, opposing reasonable gun control, affirming anti-immigrant policy, opposing the Affordable Health Care Act, making light of rape, and more.”
The site does not include an author’s name but includes a note at the bottom that reads: “Pol(itical) Ad(vertisement) Paid Keep Travis County Blue PAC.” No such political action committee is registered with the state or county, however, according to their records.
In one post from 2015, Lewis shared a meme of Bill Cosby that read “I know how to knock out Ronda Rousey” and wrote “#TKO,” an abbreviation for technical knockout. In his statement, Lewis said the post was “beyond distasteful.”
“I believe the allegations against Bill Cosby to be true,” Lewis said. “I am sorry it took me until now to reflect on my own position of privilege and lack of empathy for the victims of rape in that situation. It is never okay to make a rape joke.”
Lewis also acknowledged in the statement that he has not always been a Democrat, as the posts on the website appear to reflect, such as one from 2012 that appears to show Lewis supported GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Other posts show him rejecting gun control.
In an interview with the Statesman last month, Lewis described himself as a former Libertarian, and in a blog post from Oct. 29, Lewis described the forces that led him to become a Democrat.
“It is true that I have not always been a Democrat and in fact only very recently joined the party,” Lewis wrote in Thursday’s statement. “My positions on gun control, the Affordable Care Act, and immigration have all changed in the years since I made many of the posts.”
Lewis described his change of heart as being a “result of greater education and critical questioning.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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