Highberger fires campaign manager over remarks she made about opponent Hodgson

Abbie Hodgson

Dennis “Boog” Highberger said Thursday he has fired his volunteer campaign manager for remarks she made about his Democratic Party primary opponent Abbie Hodgson in the 46th House District race.

The action followed a day of jabbing over social media that started when Highberger’s campaign manager, Melinda Henderson, posted on her Facebook page a copy of Hodgson’s campaign finance report, and added this comment: “For my friends and followers who might be thinking about voting for Opponent because she’s younger than Boog Highberger for State Rep. and has a uterus.”

Several people posted comments that they thought it was sexist and demeaning to insinuate that people supported Hodgson because she is female.

But Henderson stood by her post, and initially Highberger stood by Henderson.

Hodgson said in a statement, “I’m disappointed the tone of Boog’s campaign has not just turned negative, but also personal. There are serious issues facing our state and I’m more interested in talking with voters about my plans to restore funding to education and revitalize our economy than my reproductive system.”

Later, Highberger said that apparently in a subsequent Facebook post Henderson referred to Hodgson as “vacuous.”

Highberger said that was “grossly inappropriate.” He said he terminated Henderson and that she is no longer associated with his campaign.

In comments on a story on ljworld.com, Highberger said: “My fellow candidate in the Democratic primary, Abbie Hodgson, is a good, qualified, hardworking woman and, although I have not been able to contact her directly yet, I apologize on behalf of myself and my campaign and I deeply regret any hurt that this has caused her.”

The winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary will face Republican J. Douglas Robinson in the November general election for the seat currently held by state Rep. Paul Davis, who is running for governor.