Mark Fisher, a tea partier running for governor in Massachusetts, claims the state's Republican Party offered him $1 million to drop out of the race in December.
"My first reaction was, 'This is a bribe, this is illegal, this can't be done,'" Fisher said at a press conference on Thursday, according to MassLive. "My second reaction was they have no clue why I am running. There is no amount of money that can get me out of this race."
WBUR reports the Massachusetts Republican Party denied the allegation.
“Mr. Fisher made numerous false and unsubstantiated statements [Thursday],” Kirsten Hughes, the chair of the Massachusetts GOP, said in a statement. “Mr. Fisher asked the MassGOP leadership for $1 million dollars to abandon his lawsuit, and later revised his offer to $650,000, not the other way around.”
The Boston Globe reported Tuesday Massachusetts GOP officials accused Fisher of demanding up to $1 million in exchange for dropping his legal challenge to get on the GOP primary ballot this September. Fisher's lawyer, Thomas Harvey, confirmed that Fisher had asked for $1 million, but said it was only a “starting point’’ in the negotiations, and said the request was reasonable and not illegal because the candidate has “put out a lot into this" and felt he should be compensated.
Fisher had sued the state Republican Party to get on the ballot as a gubernatorial candidate after not qualifying for the primary ballot at the state party convention in March. The AP reported Wednesday:
The Massachusetts Republican Party has offered to certify tea party-affiliated candidate Mark Fisher as gubernatorial candidate — a move that could pave the way for a contested GOP primary.
The party maintains that Fisher fell just short of becoming eligible for the ballot by winning the backing of 15 percent of delegates at the party’s state convention. Charlie Baker, the state’s 2010 gubernatorial candidate, won the party’s endorsement.
Fisher had sued, claiming that the party violated its own rules by including blank ballots in the tally and that it added 54 additional blanks to the total after the roll call on the convention floor.
In a court filing Wednesday, party leaders denied wrongdoing but said in “the best interests of the public, as well as the Republican Party,” they would no longer contest Fisher’s certification in exchange for additional legal proceedings to be delayed until after the election.