Sumter mayoral hopeful Charlie Jones has gone on the attack in his bid for office, accusing incumbent Joe McElveen as well as Sumter City Council of abandoning the city’s black neighborhoods.
Jones’ campaign, which previously was showing very little public activity in the run up to the November general election, erupted over the past few days as supporters went door-to-door distributing aggressive campaign materials to Sumter voters.
“Mayor McElveen has been in office for 16 years, and has done absolutely nothing for Black Communities,” reads one of the fliers, clearly geared toward undercutting the incumbent’s support among black voters. “The Mayor knows he need (sic) Black Folks to get re-elected. He also knows he only have (sic) to deceive Black Voters every 4 years to get re-elected by using his Black Community Surrogates.”
The same flier, written in first person, also accuses city officials of intentionally disrupting Sumter’s black neighborhoods. “…what the City of Sumter is doing to Black People is like herding them from their communities like cattle, to sections of the city and county where there are much less services and opportunities for Black residents,” the flier reads.
With these campaign materials, Jones – the only black candidate in the three-man race involving himself, McElveen, and William “Dutch” Holland – directs readers to his website (which can be found here). Upon visiting the site readers will find Jones’ platform, which he uses to make additional aggressive accusations against quite a few individuals and organizations, including McElveen, Sumter City Council, Sumter County Council, the Sumter County Democratic Party and other locally elected officials.
“…Our local Black Elected Officials sent to Columbia, Washington, DC, and the Democratic party leadership in Sumter also seems to supports the Mayor and others that are not anything for Black Communities. WE THE PEOPLE MUST WAKE UP AND TURN POLITICALLY AGAINST THESE TRAITORS OF ALL OUR PEOPLE (BLACKS & WHITES),” the website reads.
Editor’s Note: At this point in the post we have to take a break to point out the difficulties in reading Jones’ campaign materials. We try not to be too overly critical of occasional misspellings or the once-in-a-while grammatical error. We’re just as guilty. Still, in this instance, much like the quotation above, the Jones campaign website is absolutely riddled with them. Attempting to read the candidate’s platform is not for the grammatically faint of heart. English teachers, who likely have a few choice words for us as well, should just skip the endeavor entirely for want to avoid an aneurysm.
The website goes on to accuse McElveen and city council of a myriad of leadership failures in the city’s minority communities, including failing to provide adequate law enforcement and intentionally diverting federal funding intended for these neighborhood to more affluent neighborhoods.
“Many Sumter Residents from all walks of life believe that there is major corruption in Sumter City and County Governments. We must stop corruption in the City of Sumter,” the site reads.
Jones will get the opportunity to present his arguments in person to the voters of Sumter during a debate next week involving the three mayoral candidates, scheduled to be held at Sumter High School. Details to the event can be found here.
Recent readers’ polls by Sumter Citizen have found Jones receiving little online support from those participating in the surveys, and a recent analysis of the various campaign finance reports discovered Jones has yet to file any of the paperwork required by the South Carolina Ethics Commission for either his current bid for office or his failed 2014 run for Sumter County Council. That report can be found here.