Dewey Lee Fletcher, Jr.
|Died||September 30, 2009 (aged 43)|
|Occupation||Advertising executive; radio talk-show host|
|Political party||Republican candidate for the United States House of Representatives, 5th District, Louisiana, 2002|
|Parent(s)||Dewey Fletcher, Sr.|
Dewey Lee Fletcher, Jr. (April 29, 1966 – September 30, 2009), was an American political consultant and a talk radio host and blogger in Monroe, Louisiana, who was defeated by 974 votes in a 2002 race for the United States House of Representatives for Louisiana's 5th congressional district. A Republican activist, Fletcher lost to the Democrat Rodney Alexander of Quitman in Jackson Parish. Alexander prevailed with 86,718 votes to Fletcher's 85,744.
Fletcher's advertising agency known as "The Fletcher Group" was cited by the American Advertising Federation for its highly successful statewide television campaigns. He also hosted a political talk program on 92.7 Fox FM radio in Monroe in Ouachita Parish.
In 2008, Fletcher's agency worked to elect Republican John C. Fleming of Minden in Webster Parish as the U.S. representative for Louisiana's 4th congressional district, vacated by the retirement of Republican Representative Jim McCrery of Shreveport. Fletcher served briefly as Fleming's chief of staff until sidelined by his fatal illness.
Early years and education
Fletcher was born in E.A. Conway Medical Center in Monroe to Dewey Fletcher, Sr. (1943-2004), and the former Patricia Gaye Brown (born August 1944), later Patricia Irby, of Monroe. He was reared at the 9B Ranch, a horse ranch and a cotton farm, in Oak Grove in rural West Carroll Parish in northeast Louisiana by his maternal grandparents, Dayton C. Brown (1913–1994) and Pat Brown, who resides in West Monroe. He had two sisters, Nicki Hall of Tyler, Texas, and Ashley Simmons-Jones of West Monroe. He was a cousin of Louisiana 4th Judicial District Judge Wendell Manning of Monroe.
In 1984, Fletcher graduated from Oak Grove High School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural education from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston in August 1989. A member of the Sigma Nu fraternity, he was the Louisiana Tech student body president in 1988. He was a lifelong devotee of Louisiana Tech athletics. Eleven years later, he obtained a Master of Business Administration degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
As a youth, Fletcher campaigned for the election of Ronald W. Reagan for U.S. President. He worked in the George H. W. Bush administration and in the United States Department of Agriculture. He was a graduate and former faculty member of the Republican National Committee Campaign Management College and its Leadership Institute Campaign School in Arlington, Virginia.
In 1996 and 1997, Fletcher was the campaign manager and then the chief of staff for U.S. Representative John Cooksey of Monroe, who limited himself to three terms. Cooksey edged out the comeback attempt of former U.S. Representative Clyde Holloway of Forest Hill in the south Rapides Parish, the last person to represent the since defunct Louisiana's 8th congressional district. He defeated in the runoff election, technically the general election in Louisiana the Democrat state legislator Francis C. Thompson of Delhi in Richland Parish.
It was in the 2002 race to succeed Cooksey, who ran unsuccessfully that year for the United States Senate, that Fletcher lost to Rodney Alexander. Fletcher first edged out Clyde Holloway for the general election berth against Alexander. Also in the running was another major Republican candidate, then State Senator Robert J. Barham of Oak Ridge in Morehouse Parish, now the director of Louisiana State Parks.
Alexander led in the primary with 52,952 votes (29 percent). Fletcher followed with 45,278 (25 percent). Holloway polled 42,573 votes (23 percent), and Barham received 34,533 votes (19 percent). Three others divided the remaining but potentially crucial 5 percent of the primary ballots.
Holloway hence fell 2,705 votes short of entering the second round of balloting with Alexander. Though he is a longtime Republican who later in life was a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, Holloway endorsed the then Democrat Alexander over his fellow conservative Fletcher. Holloway's aberration was a reaction to the hard campaigning waged against him by Fletcher in the primary. Critics claim that Holloway was furious over negative, anonymous automated telephone calls. Not only did Holloway refuse to endorse fellow Republican Fletcher, but numerous Republican groups in the 5th Congressional District also backed the then-Democrat Alexander in the general election. The final outcome seemed to indicate that Holloway's endorsement and the support of such Republican activist groups contributed considerably to Alexander's narrow victory. In 2004, Congressman Alexander switched parties and became a Republican with widespread support from district Republican leaders. That year, he handily defeated fellow Republican Jock Scott of Alexandria in the nonpartisan blanket primary.
In 2006, Alexander supported the appointment of Holloway to a high position in the United States Department of Agriculture. The selection required the approval of President George W. Bush, who had supported Fletcher in the general election against Alexander. In a 2003 interview with James H. "Jim" Brown, the former Louisiana state senator, secretary of state, and insurance commissioner, Fletcher said that he did not have "a problem" with Holloway despite the disappointment to both in the 2002 congressional race.
In 2007, Fletcher urged voters in the 32nd State Senate District to elect Neil Riser, the Republican businessman from Columbia, who defeated a Democrat for the seat vacated by term-limited incumbent Noble Ellington of Winnsboro in Franklin Parish. Riser beat the Democrat former State Representative Bryant Hammett of Ferriday in Concordia Parish and still holds this seat.
In 2007, Fletcher devoted himself to electing more Republicans to office and served as the northeast Louisiana consultant for the successful gubernatorial candidate, Bobby Jindal. Fletcher's firm worked in eight campaigns and was successful in seven. The one loss occurred when the Fletcher-backed candidate advanced to the general election but then withdrew. Though self-described as a "Ronald Reagan Republican," Fletcher was a consultant for the Democratic African American mayor of Monroe, Jamie Mayo, in the latter's re-election campaign in February 2008. Mayo told a friend that his hiring of Fletcher "made the difference between winning and losing."
In 2008, Fletcher developed and launched an all new talk FM format station named 92.7 Fox FM and hosted his own daily show, Townhall Show, on this regional talk station. He had also earlier substituted at times for Moon Griffon.
In February 2009, less than two months into his tenure as John Fleming's chief of staff, Fletcher was stricken with cancer. He underwent treatment in Ruston and Monroe as well as The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. A sarcoma in his back metastasized. He died at the age of forty-three at St. Francis Hospital in Monroe, with his grandmother at his side.
Services were held on October 5, 2009, at the First Church of God in Oak Grove, with the Reverend Mark Foster, a Pentecostal pastor from West Monroe officiating, assisted by the Reverends Paul Ninemire, a Church of God minister from Oak Grove, and Dennis Anger, pastor of the Cypress Street Church of God in West Monroe. Interment was in Oak Grove Cemetery. Pallbearers included former U.S. Representative John Cooksey, political consultant Roy Fletcher (no relation), newspaper publisher Sam Hanna Jr., and Judge Wendell Manning. Honorary pallbearers were U.S. Representatives John Fleming and Rodney Alexander and state Senators Mike Walsworth and Neil Riser, and Fletcher's Sigma Nu fraternity brothers.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, Election returns, December 7, 2002.
- "The Fletcher Group". leefletcher.com. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
- "Former talk show host, political operative Lee Fletcher dies at 43, The Monroe New-Star, October 1, 2009.
- "Dewey Lee Fletcher, Sr". Findagrave.com. Retrieved June 10, 2017.
- "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.com. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
- Obituary of Dewey Lee Fletcher, Jr., The Monroe News-Star, Retrieved October 3, 2009.
- Louisiana Secretary of State, General election returns, November 5, 2002.
- Undated 2002 article from the Alexandria Daily Town Talk
- Jim Brown interview with Lee Fletcher, Politicsla.com, January 14, 2003.
- "Endorsement: Neil Riser Is Heads And Shoulders Better Than Bryant Hammett". lanewslink.com. Retrieved October 3, 2009.
- Town Hall Show Archived December 31, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- The Moon Griffon Show, radio talk show program then based in Monroe, Louisiana, October 1, 2009.
- T. Scott Boatright, "Fletcher dies at age 43," Ruston Daily Leader, Ruston, Louisiana, October 1, 2009.