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Patterson’s endorsers largely silent on far-right ties

Although public information now shows Republican Congressional candidate Buzz Patterson trained campaign staff and supporters using a former strategist from one of the nation’s largest purported hate groups, most of his campaign endorsers would neither pull their support nor respond to questions.

For more than a week, The Sacto Politico has reached out to 13 different endorsers of the Sacramento-area candidate. Only three reaffirmed their endorsement, though these would not comment much further. They were the Sacramento County Republican Party, the political action committee (PAC) of the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce, and a pro-Trump Indo-American PAC called U.S. Impact PAC.

Groups and individuals listed as endorsers on Patterson’s web site and elsewhere who did not respond to multiple requests for comment were:

  • The California GOP (CAGOP)

  • California Republican Assembly

  • Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs Association

  • The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

  • California State Senator Jim Nielsen

  • Former California State Senator Ted Gaines

  • Former Chairman of the California Republican Party Tom Del Beccaro

  • Sacramento Republican Assembly

  • Cosumnes Republican Assembly

  • Combat Veterans for Congress PAC

Patterson is running in California’s 7th Congressional District that serves eastern Sacramento County. In the March 3 primary, Patterson won 33.6% of the primary vote to finish second and will face off against Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Ami Bera on the November ballot.*

Betsy Mahan, the chair of the Sacramento County Republican Party, was one of the few to respond. In a brief text, she said, “Sac County GOP remains in strong support of [Patterson’s] candidacy.”

She also noted “we have been assured” Patterson does not support “Q or any white supremacist organizations.”

“Q” refers to the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. As reported by multiple national media outlets, a QAnon supporter in April asked Patterson on Twitter if he supported QAnon. To this, Patterson’s account replied “yep!” Patterson later told Axios he did not recall the exchange and does not support QAnon. Soon after, the exchange was deleted from Patterson’s Twitter account.

However, Mahan did not comment on Patterson’s other public associations with far-right individuals and organizations. These include:

  • Using a former national strategist from one of the largest purported hate groups in the U.S. to train campaign staff and supporters on July 18;

  • Co-organizing an Aug. 1 rally at the state capitol that included extremist rhetoric from multiple speakers and one speaker who featured symbols of a white militia group on his web site; and

  • Regular appearances on a far-right online talk show whose host supports QAnon, regularly wears a Q hat on the show, and has called on President Trump to “green light” armed vigilantes to violently shut down “antifa” protests.

(For more details, click here.)

Mahan also did not answer whether the county party has donated to the Patterson campaign. According to the Federal Election Commission’s searchable database, Patterson has failed to submit required quarterly campaign fundraising and expenditure filings going back to Oct. 1, 2019.

The Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce would also only briefly respond to inquiries. Two days after the group promised The Sacto Politico’s inquiry and background information would be forwarded to its endorsement committee for review, the group’s president and CEO Angela Perry emailed, “We do not plan to make any changes to our endorsements.”

The only group that would respond to a handful questions by phone was U.S. Impact PAC, a pro-Trump Indo-American group with a post office box listed as in Frisco, Texas, which is outside of Dallas.

The individual answering the phone number listed on the organization’s web site would not identify himself. He also would not explain the group’s endorsement process, but he said none of Patterson’s other associations or positions mattered to the group.

“I have no comment on Buzz Patterson. We are just opposed to the current office holder,” he said. “Our endorsement is about endorsing any candidate who is opposed to Ami Bera.”

* founder and editor Jeff Burdick ran in the March 3rd Congressional primary as a first-time candidate against Bera, Patterson and two other candidates. Burdick is a trained journalist, and six months after the primary election, he returned to this vocation by starting The Sacto Politico.

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