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Local GOP chair Kaelin facing firestorm after Facebook post

Local GOP chair Jim Kaelin
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jun 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-05 23:39:43-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — UPDATE (7:49 p.m.): Jim Kaelin will keep his position as Nueces Co. Republican Party Chair.

ORIGINAL:
There is a statewide political firestorm underway and Nueces County GOP Chair Jim Kaelin finds himself in the middle of it.

It's over a post Kaelin shared on his Facebook page which floats a conspiracy theory that the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis was a staged event. Kaelin says on the post that it was sent to him by a state police investigator.

The Nueces County Democratic Party says the post is racist and they are calling for the public condemnation of Kaelin.

There are also calls for Kaelin to resign from his post coming from the state's top republican, Governor Greg Abbott.

Several calls to Kaelin went unreturned Friday, but earlier in the morning, the former Nueces County Sheriff called in to a local radio show to tell his side of the story.

“This post that I put out was sent to me, all I did was forward it,” said Kaelin on Friday’s Bob Jones Show. “That was probably my mistake.”

Kaelin says the post raised questions about the incident that Kaelin himself would have asked as a former Dept. of Public Safety investigator.

“I’m not proposing a conspiracy, I’m not proposing anything,” said Kaelin.

Democratic calls for Kaelin’s resignation grew louder Friday.

“People have had enough and for you to put that put there, which is a complete lie, It’s indefensible,” said Nueces Co Democratic Chair Coretta Graham.

As part of Gov. Abbott calls for Kaelin’s resignation, his Communications Director, John Wittman sent KRIS Communications a statement which read: “The death of George Floyd was a crime and an act of police brutality and must be treated as such. Spreading conspiracy theories that the murder was staged simply defies reality; it is irresponsible, and unbecoming of anyone who holds a position in the GOP”

“If the governor had heard my side of the story, I think certainly the governor would not have called for my resignation,” said Kaelin, who took responsibility for his actions.

Local Democrats say the post was irresponsible.

“If you had private thoughts about it, you should have kept them to yourself,” said Graham.

The Nueces Co. GOP executive committee meets this evening to hold a vote of confidence in Kaelin’s leadership. This is a developing story, we will update it as details become available.