Apr 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Republican precinct chair in Texas charged over Capitol riot

Mark Middleton and Jalise Middleton at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Mark Middleton and Jalise Middleton at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: FBI/Department of Justice.

A North Texas man charged with assaulting police officers during January's Capitol riot is a Republican Party precinct chair and has been an election poll worker, CNN reported Wednesday.

Details: Mark Middleton, 52, was appointed as the GOP chair of Precinct 14 in Cooke County during a meeting last December, Cooke County Republican Party chair Chris McNamara told Axios in an email.

  • "Precinct Chairs are an elected position in the Party or can be appointed to fill a vacancy and there is no mechanism in Texas election law to remove a sitting precinct chairman in this situation," McNamara said.

The big picture: Per a criminal complaint from the Department of Justice and the FBI, the precinct chair was arrested last week, along with Jalise Middleton after the couple from Forestburg were identified from body camera footage allegedly assaulting two Metropolitan Police Department officers guarding the Capitol.

  • They've also been charged with remaining on restricted grounds, though they do not appear to have entered the Capitol complex.
  • The Middletons have pleaded not guilty to all seven federal charges they each face.

Of note: Middleton is one of "multiple rioters with local Republican Party ties," CNN notes.

  • Others include former West Virginia House of Delegates lawmaker Derrick Evans and former California Republican Assembly State Board secretary Jorge Riley.

What they're saying: McNamara told Axios he'd only known Middleton for a short time, "but the behavior he has been accused of seems very out of the character to me."  

  • "This is not the Mark I know and I was very surprised," he added.
"The Cooke County Republican Party does not condone or support the actions that the Middleton’s are accused of. I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the events that took place on January 6th."
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