Sadly, negative campaigning is a part of politics. I don’t like it, and I know voters don’t like it. Still, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish facts from politically motivated fiction.
I am in this race to take the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department to a higher level of service and professionalism. That will help keep our community safe and ensure a brighter future for our kids. So to make sure you know what’s true…and what is false...we’re adding “The Truth Squad” forum to our website. We will update this as our detractors push out misinformation about me, my family and my campaign. And please call me if you’d like to talk 803.606.3368 or if you hear a new allegation.
Q: One of your opponents or his supporters is claiming that you stated on Facebook that you were on the scene when Deputy Potter was shot on I-20 back in the 1970's and that you claimed to have tried to save his life.
Is this true?
A: After Deputies Potter and Tollison were shot on I-20, law enforcement officers from around the Midlands were called to the vicinity where the shooting took place to help on the manhunt. I was a Lexington County Deputy Sheriff and a group of us came to Kershaw County to help with a manhunt. None of us ever saw either of the two Kershaw County deputies and I certainly never was anywhere near Deputy Potter at any time. I have never claimed to have tried to save his life. This is an outright lie.
Q: One of your opponents or his supporters has resurrected the rumor that you have spoken badly about former Sheriff Hector DeBruhl. However, this time the rumor is that both you and former Sheriff Jerry Horton were speaking badly about Sheriff DeBruhl.
Is this true?
A: I addressed this issue with some of the DeBruhl family members some time ago and I thought this rumor had been laid to rest. With the addition of the part about Sheriff Horton and I speaking badly about Sheriff Debruhl, I guess this rumor has taken on a new life. It is absolutely false. Sheriff Horton has never spoken in a negative way about Sheriff DeBruhl to me or in my presence. As for me, I did not know Sheriff DeBruhl and could not make a judgement about him, either way. I have never spoken in a negative way about Sheriff DeBruhl. This is another feeble attempt on the part of one of my opponents to paint me in a negative light to the DeBruhl family.
Q. Are you going to fire all of the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Deputies?
A: I was warned by a former Kershaw County Sheriff’s deputy that my opposition would start this rumor. It is not true. I am flattered that they think I could patrol the entire county by myself, but I can’t. There are some very good deputies at our Sheriff’s Department and there are some that can be made better with some good training and better leadership. I do not plan to fire all the deputies. I will set some accepted standards and those who can and want to meet them will be able to maintain employment with the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Department.
Q: Are you a Democrat, as your political opponents have alleged?
A: I’m an American first and a Republican second. Keeping our streets and children safe is not a partisan issue. It is a community issue that deserves a better response than political mudslinging. But, since my opponents have leveled this charge, let me answer them. I serve as a committee man for the Kershaw County GOP and have a history of voting Republican. I also regularly attend county Republican meetings each month, whereas my opponent does not. I did vote in a local Democrat primary because the only candidates for the seat – a position on the Kershaw County Council – were Democrats. I felt I had an obligation, to say nothing of a right, to have a voice in a decision that would impact the people of our county. This is just another effort to take the focus off the real issues in this race – drugs, gangs, and break-ins – because my opponents know they cannot match my experience.
Q. Are you going to turn the county into a speed trap?
A: No. I have specifically stated that I will not do this, but because traffic accidents injure and kill more people in Kershaw County than do all the other crimes combined, we will have a traffic unit that will focus on reckless driving and DUIs. I don’t see how anyone could have a problem with that. All of the uniformed deputies will be authorized to work traffic cases, but that will NOT be their main priority. We are not the Highway Patrol and don’t want to be. Lawful traffic stops are also a means to begin investigations into drug trafficking and other crimes.
Q. Have you ever run for Sheriff before?
A: No. In 2001 there was talk that Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott might be appointed to be the chief at SLED. I was encouraged by many law enforcement officers to run for his seat if that happened. I thought about it and explored the possibility. Sheriff Lott did not go to SLED so there was not an election. I did not file with the S.C. Ethics Commission because you can only file if there is a race, and there was not one.
Q. Were you and Heather fired from your previous jobs at the DEA and WIS-TV?
A: I did not get fired from DEA nor was I asked to retire in lieu of being fired. Heather was not fired from WIS-TV nor was she given the choice to resign in lieu of being fired. This rumor is totally false. I was just given an endorsement by the Association of Former Federal Narcotics Agents, a 1,000-member organization, and was the first candidate for political office that this organization has ever endorsed in its history. The endorsement was based on my reputation for professionalism and integrity. Had I been fired from DEA, they would not have touched me with a 10-foot pole. Heather is the marketing director at a very large law firm with offices in South Carolina and North Carolina. If she’d had an integrity issue and been fired, they would not have considered employing her. Another false rumor. I know I’m fair game because I’m the candidate, but my family should be off-limits. The fact that my opponents are attacking my wife shows that they are either desperate or unethical…or both.
Q. Did you move to Kershaw County to run for Sheriff?
A: Heather and I moved to Kershaw County in 2003 to be out in the country and get away from the drugs and gangs in Columbia. I was also attracted to the area because of the low taxes. I had no intention whatsoever of running for any office, including Sheriff. I only began considering running for Sheriff after the last election, when law enforcement officers came to me with some of their concerns about law enforcement in our county and encouraged me to seek the office. Only then did I even give it the first thought. This is another rumor that is absolutely untrue.
Q. Do you dislike the Masonic Organization?
A: This rumor was recently spread up in the Bethune/Mt. Pisgah area by a Kershaw County deputy to make me look bad to some of his friends who are Masons. It is totally false. I have numerous very close friends who are in the Masons and who are voting for me. Actually, I have no opinion either way of the organization because I don’t know much about it. But I can say that those of my friends who are members are fine, upstanding members of our community.
Q: Is Lt. Lamar Pope going to be the first deputy you fire.
A: NO!! From all accounts, Lt. Pope is an excellent, well-liked officer. A current Kershaw County deputy has spread this rumor in an effort to portray me in a negative light. Another cheap shot.