Election Day is tomorrow, and according to the Ginny Deerin for Mayor campaign, the race has taken a decidedly nasty turn.
For starters, there was last week's, um, "pro-gay" mailer
, the one that let voters know that Deerin was a gay rights supporter, as she should be. After all, Deerin is a proud member of the LGBT community.
However, no one in their right mind believed the mailer was designed to help the candidate. Charleston may be progressive, but it's not that progressive. The black community, for one, is notoriously creeped out by same-sex marriage and other LGBT matters, or at least that's how the conventional wisdom goes. I'm not so sure that's entirely true.
And now, a new mailer is apparently out there, one which uses the same awkward photo of Deerin with angel wings. Unlike the previous mailer, this new one is attributed to Charleston Residents for Responsible Government, LLC
The registered agent for that group, Matthew T. Richardson, has donated to Leon Stavrinakis' campaign. Richardson, a former candidate for attorney general, says that the two mailers are in no way related. "I can tell you the group has absolutely no connection with any campaign and would never send out a communication attacking anyone’s sexuality," Richardson says. "Quite frankly, there is no basis for anyone to speculate such a communication would ever be sent by the group." (Editor's Note: Richardson works for the Wyche law firm, which currently represents the City Paper.) Richardson also says that it's his understanding the angel photo is available on the internet.
However, the Deerin camp is having a difficult time believing there is no connection. “The fact that two different groups used the identical obscure picture of Deerin from 2010 signals a potential connection between the two. One group is publicly supporting Rep Stavrinakis," said campaign manager, Daniel Barash. "If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Rep. Stavrinakis says he’s running a campaign of unity but that’s just to enable his friends to wage personal attacks against Ginny days before the election. To use his words: ‘Charleston deserves better.’"
Meanwhile, the Starinakis for Mayor campaign says that they aren't behind the mailers. "Neither of these mailers came from our campaign. By law, campaigns cannot coordinate with third party groups and our campaign has demonstrated its commitment to the law by reporting the illegal mailer to SLED for a full investigation," says Tyler Jones, communications director for Leon Stavrinakis for Mayor.
Of course, with Leon and Ginny slugging it out, their fellow mayoral candidate John Tecklenburg has an opportunity to prove why he has the right temperament for the job. As a result, he's released a statement on the mud-slinging, in particular the Charleston Residents for Responsible Government mailer against Deerin.
"Over the weekend, reports surfaced that an anonymous, third-party group which has been running radio ads in support of Rep. Leon Stavrinakis has now sent out last-minute mail pieces attacking our fellow candidate for mayor, Ginny Deerin.
"As Mayor Riley said about a similar, shadowy group that attacked him four years ago, this 'cowardice of anonymity' does not reflect the values of Charleston, and it has no place in our city.
"That's why I am today calling on those responsible for this group's clandestine political activities to cease and desist in their anonymous attacks—and to stop trying to drag this city's mayoral election into the mud.
"Because here in Charleston, we're better than that. We know the difference between right and wrong. We understand that people should have the simple decency and courage to take responsibility for their own words. And we will not tolerate this kind of fraudulent, unprincipled, win-at-all costs politics in our city or our mayor's office."
On Sunday, T-Burg received a glowing endorsement
from the Post and Courier, which may have been a sign that they are tired of the tit-for-tat spat between Stavrinakis and Deerin.
The City Paper has endorsed Deerin.