Remember Phillip "Icky" Frye? In 2003, he accused his wife, a state employee, of having an affair with then-Governor Bob Wise. In 2004, he ran for governor, with the slogan, "Phillip Frye for Governor: He’ll do his job, not his staff."
Well now, Republican Presidential candidate John McCain has picked Frye as one of 30 prominent Democrats and Independents nationwide who support his campaign.
Frye, a musician, repairman and professional fly-tier, is best known for blowing the whistle on his wife and Governor Wise. Wise then decided not to seek re-election.
Frye is tall and thin – like Ichabod Crane from the story of the Headless Horseman. That’s where the "Icky" comes from.
"Actually yes, it was a nickname from childhood, Ichabod Crane, that carried over, and everyone started shortening it and calling me Icky," he says.
In a 2003 Charleston Daily Mail article, Frye called Wise "That little weasel-faced bastard," and a "typical Democrat."
Later, in an interview with WSAZ-TV, Frye said he wasn’t qualified to be governor, but was doing it "to be a sheer nuisance to Bob Wise."
Frye stayed in the race, even after Wise dropped out. He received about 1 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.
Frye says the McCain camp came looking for him – not the other way around.
"For whatever reason, I was contacted by the McCain party and asked if I’m going to support Senator McCain, and I said, of course, I like his views and I like where he stands," Frye says. "So I really don’t know where that list of prominent Democrats came from. However, what is the criteria to be a prominent Democrat. I’d like to see that list so I can let you know if I meet that or not."
A national blogger, Jed Lewison, broke the story Sunday after a West Virginia fan tipped him off. Lewison’s story was posted on a local Democratic blog, West Virginia Blue, and then the story was picked up by The Charleston Gazette. Now, it’s getting nationwide coverage.
Lewison said he was surprised McCain picked Frye to represent his supporters in West Virginia.
"I thought it was pretty funny that the McCain campaign is claiming it’s got a tremendous amount of support across the country and the name they came up with is this guy with a peculiar story," Lewison says.
Lewison says the McCain campaign doesn’t know what it's doing. He has some experience with campaigns – he helped Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington win her seat.
"Clearly, if they had done their political due diligence, they never would have gotten involved with the guy in the first place," Lewison says. "It’s amateur hour. It’s almost funny, except this is a guy who has a legitimate chance of becoming President of the United States of America."
The McCain campaign didn’t return a phone call seeking comment on this story. Spokesman Jeff Sadoski told The Charleston Gazette, "This is a list of people who are known in different states, as Democrats or independents. They include elected officers and leaders in the Democratic Party. They were prominent Democrats."
Meanwhile, McCain isn’t the only Republican to get Frye’s endorsement.
"I say Shelley Moore Capito also is a wonderful representative of the state of West Virginia. She also will be receiving my support," Frye says.