Spurred by his disappointment, Lemley enlisted Richland's Accent Signs to design a simple, flag-themed "Jim Mattis for President" yard sign.
Lemley unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for a seat in the state House last year, but his Mattis signs don't mention a political party. Mattis' ex-boss famously called him "sort of a Democrat" in a 60 Minutes interview last fall.
Passersby wanted signs
One Mattis sign went in Lemley's yard. Another in his neighbor's — former State Rep. Larry Haler.
He passed a third along to the Mattis family and gave more to curious passersby who knocked at his door.
Lemley said he has two or three left. He would be thrilled to order more if it helps build a movement to draft Mattis to run for something.
"If we could get a grassroots effort started, I would do anything to make this happen," he said. "Let's twist his arm."
No word from Mattis
Mattis has been silent on the presidential rumblings emanating from his hometown. Lemley confirmed he did not get permission and hasn't heard anything one way or the other.
It's unclear if Mattis has visited the Tri-Cities since New Years, when he left office, and the Herald failed to reach him this week about Lemley's hopes for him.
But that hasn't stopped Lemley's sign from generating a lively, if brief, Facebook conversation.
Richlanders cheered Lemley's efforts and openly speculated about a possible vice presidential candidate. Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley were suggested.
Lemley, a former Marine who flies a service flag outside his home, says he's a long time fan of Mattis.
Mattis, 69 was born in Pullman but raised in Richland, where he graduated from Columbia High School (now Richland). He attended Central Washington University, where he launched a highly successful 40-plus year military career.
Lemley became friendly with Mattis after he arranged for him to speak during a Rotary Club program.
He'd reached out to Mattis through the military. He only succeeded in connecting after he had a chance encounter with the general's mother.
Lemley was door belling for one of his own political campaigns when he met her. He mentioned his interest in having Mattis visit the service club.
Two weeks later, Mattis got in touch to accept, hailing Lemley as a fellow Marine.
"All I had to do was talk to his mother," Lemley said.
Mattis is legendary in military circles for his interest in veterans and issues.
"Every Marine there is loves this man and worships the ground he walks on," Lemley said.
Signs of a political nature are broadly protected under the First Amendment.
Lemley said he is careful in his personal campaigns for city council and more recently, state Legislature, to comply with the city code that requires political campaigns to remove yard signs within 10 days after an election.
But the code is silent on how early you can put up your signs.
QUETTA, Pakistan/KABUL (Reuters) - The brother of the leader of the Afghan Taliban was among at least four people killed in a bomb blast at a mosque in Pakistan on Friday, two Taliban sources told Reuters, an attack that could affect efforts to end the Afghan war.
An Indiana Army National Guard soldier died Thursday night during a training accident at Fort Hood.
According to a Fort Hood press release, the soldier's injuries came from "a tactical vehicle accident in the training area." The name of the soldier is being withheld until the family is notified.
The incident, which occurred at around 10 p.m., will be investigated by the Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, the release said.
Nearly 32% of active-duty military deaths between 2006 and 2018 have been the result of accidents, according to an analysis from the Congressional Research Service.
The Army has had a number of vehicular deaths this year. In June, one West Point cadet was killed and 21 others were injured when a tactical vehicle rolled during training. A vehicle rollover at Fort Irwin, California killed one soldier and injured three others that same month, and in May, a rollover killed one soldier and injured a dozen others at Fort Polk, La.
An Air Force investigation into sexual assault allegations against Air Force Gen. John Hyten "was unable to find indications of an unprofessional relationship either electronically or through witness interviews," according to a redacted copy of the investigation, which was released on Friday.
The full Senate is expected to vote on Hyten's nomination to become the next vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September. He has denied the allegations against him.