Former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese is “no longer doing any endorsements” for “personal reasons” after being made aware of Grand Junction City Council candidate Mark McCallister’s history of racism on social media.
After Pugliese endorsed McCallister, we reached out and asked if she’d seen the racist posts on his Facebook page.
Pugliese replied, “I was not aware of his comments but will look into it further and then circle back with you about my endorsement.”
After a follow-up email from the Colorado Times Recorder, Pugliese wrote, “Due to personal reasons, I am no longer doing any endorsements, including for Mark.”
“I would like you to know that I advocate for inclusivity, kindness and open communication,” said Pugliese, whose term as Mesa County Commissioner ended in January.
Pugliese did not return a subsequent email asking for more details on her reasoning.
McCallister, who once served as vice-chair of the Mesa County GOP, has a history of racism on social media.
CTR reporter Gabrielle Bye summarized some of his more virulent posts earlier this month after McCallister filed for candidacy:
In 2018, McCallister posted a meme comparing Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) to Arnold Schwarzenneger’s Predator.
Shortly after, he posted an Islamophobic quote that was fabricated and falsely attributed to a former Oxford professor of Islamic studies.
Then, last January, a meme depicting Trump placing a noose around the neck of former President Barack Obama appeared on McCallister’s Facebook page.
McCallister has received endorsements from state Reps. Matt Soper (R-Delta) and Janice Rich (R-Grand Junction). Rich serves as House Minority Caucus Chair.
“It has been a pleasure to know and be friends with Mark and his family for many years,” wrote Rich in her endorsement. “It’s not just lip service with Mark. He is truly passionate about this community. I am so proud of how his leadership qualities and skills have helped him to keep businesses open through this pandemic.”
“I’ve known Mark for many years and have witnessed first hand his leadership in advocating for families, business, and the Grand Valley,” Soper’s endorsement reads. “I cannot think of a better person for City Council than Mark! Mark is genuine, caring, and passionate about Grand Junction and wants the best for our future!”
Neither Soper nor Rich responded to requests for comment.