State Rep. Doug McLeod, R-Lucedale

State Rep. Doug McLeod, R-Lucedale, who was arrested this past weekend on charges of domestic violence against his wife, was part of the 2012 freshman class that helped Republicans gain control of the Mississippi House for the first time since the 1800s.

Earlier this week, McLeod was arrested for allegedly punching his wife in the face, bloodying her nose, after he thought she undressed for sex too slowly. Deputies with the George County Sheriff’s Department who arrived at McLeod’s home reported the lawmaker was visibly drunk, slurring his words and unable to stand without leaning on a guardrail, according the Sun Herald.

Gov. Phil Bryant and Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, have urged McLeod to resign if the charges are true. 

While not a prolific fundraiser, recent campaign finance reports show that McLeod has received campaign contributions from lobbyists and several major multinational corporations, including tobacco manufacturer Reynolds American Inc. ($250), communications giant AT&T ($200) and international agrichemical company Monsanto ($250).

Also making donations were megaretailer Walmart ($200) as well as Koch Industries ($300), the private firm owned by billionaire brothers who are heavily involved in Republican politics.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Bayer, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, said: “All political contributions are based, in part, on Bayer’s interests in legislative or policy related activity. While Rep. McLeod, a member of Mississippi’s House Agriculture Committee, received a $250 corporate contribution last year, we obviously do not condone his alleged actions and we will suspend any further political support while authorities investigate the allegations.”

Last fall, Major League Baseball asked U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde Smith to return a $5,000 donation after she said she would attend a public hanging, which she called a joke.

The other corporations who gave McLeod money did not respond to requests for comments from Mississippi Today. 

McLeod, who is running unopposed for re-election, has not raised any campaign funds this year. His latest campaign report filed with the office of Secretary of State shows him with $1,650 in cash on hand.

McLeod won his first two elections to the District 107 seat in southeast Mississippi by comfortable margins.

In the Legislature, McLeod has consistently voted along party lines. The Lucedale Republican voted in favor of every bill to limit abortion that made it to the House floor since he took office in 2012.

He also voted for bills that strengthen domestic violence laws, including the 2017 provision that allows domestic violence as grounds for divorce. Each year he has voted for several symbolic resolutions honoring women, like a 2015 Senate resolution that designated March as women’s history month in Mississippi.

McLeod was released from custody on a $1,000 signature bond, meaning he did not have to pay any cash to be released.

Contributing: Anna Wolfe, Kayleigh Skinner and Larrison Campbell

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Bobby Harrison, Mississippi Today’s senior capitol reporter, covers politics, government and the Mississippi State Legislature. He also writes a weekly news analysis which is co-published in newspapers statewide. A native of Laurel, Bobby joined our team June 2018 after working for the North Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo since 1984. He is president of the Mississippi Capitol Press Corps Association and works with the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute to organize press luncheons. Bobby has a bachelor's in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi and has received multiple awards from the Mississippi Press Association, including the Bill Minor Best Investigative/In-depth Reporting and Best Commentary Column.