At an April 24 meeting, the membership of Lebanon Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #42 voted to withdraw the organization’s endorsement of Matt Shirk for Lebanon County Commissioner in the upcoming May 21 Republican primary election.
Shirk, the endorsed candidate of the Lebanon County Republicans, is running against incumbent Commissioner Bill Ames (R), who was not endorsed by the party, and incumbent Commission Bob Phillips (R), who was. Although the party had endorsed Ames previously, Chairman Casey Long said the Lebanon County GOP sent a “clear statement” by declining to nominate Ames this time. Instead, the Republicans endorsed Shirk, whose own campaign was launched on unproven claims of nepotism by Ames.
An unsigned press release posted to the FOP’s website confirmed the withdrawal of Shirk’s endorsement. Attempts to reach Lodge president Scott Bowman were unsuccessful as of publication time.
The release indicates that the organization withdrew its endorsement due to negative campaigning and “public accusations against more than one of the candidates involved in the upcoming election.” This is a likely reference to negative ads run in the Hummelstown Sun and WLBR, in addition to the postings of anti-Shirk pages on Facebook.
Read the full FOP press release below.
FOP Press Release
In March of this year, the Lebanon County Fraternal Order of Police was approached by Matt Shirk, a candidate for Lebanon County Commissioner. After initial consideration, the Lodge had agreed to endorse Mr. Shirk during his campaign.
During our Lodge meeting in April, the members revisited the issue. It was determined at this time to withdraw our endorsement of Mr. Shirk. The revocation of this endorsement is not due to any specific action by Mr. Shirk.
It has been brought to the attention of the Lodge that there have been divides within several other organizations, as well as many public accusations against more than one of the candidates involved in the upcoming election. Our Lodge will not participate in any negative campaigning against any candidate, or on behalf of any candidate. The Lodge simply feels it is best at this time not to participate in any endorsement or actions for or against any of the candidates involved in the County Commissioner race. Based on the above, we will be remaining neutral and allow the voters of Lebanon County to choose who they feel is best.
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