[image-1] Four men have shown interest in being the next mayor of Charleston.
Anyone raising money to run for office must file paperwork with the State Ethics Commission. While these filings don’t prove who will actually go through the process of running, they at least indicate indicate who’s looking to preside over future City Council meetings.
Candidates for mayor must officially file to run with city lawyer Susan Herdina, but the filing period is not open yet. It begins at noon on the first Monday in August and ends at noon on the third Monday of the same month, according to city spokeswoman Chloe Field.
So far, City Council members Harry Griffin and Gary White have filed campaign disclosures with the state.
Griffin, a 23-year-old councilman who represents the upper part of West Ashley, filed with the state agency on Feb. 27. He has raised no money so far and has no cash on hand.
The Citadel graduate works in project procurement at Neal Brothers, a North Charleston export packing company. Last month, the self-described social-moderate-but-fiscal-conservative told the City Paper that he was “strongly considering” a run.
[content-2] White, who represents Daniel Island along with a chunk of the peninsula from Calhoun to Broad streets, filed his disclosure form on March 22. He has raised $59,105 so far, $40,000 of which he loaned to himself. His fundraising total is the second highest amount behind incumbent Mayor John Tecklenburg. White has $37,135 on hand.
Four current City Council members backed White during a press conference announcing his candidacy, according to the Post and Courier.
“I think you can see with the turnout here today there is a vote of no confidence in the current administration,” White said.
White does not plan to run for his District 1 seat on City Council this year. Lawyer Shawn Pinkston announced he was running for the job earlier this month.
In an email to CP, Councilman Mike Seekings said he will announce a decision on whether he will run after April 18. Seekings is a lawyer and the chairman of the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority.
Then there’s Will Freeman, an administrative assistant at the College of Charleston who ran for a seat in the S.C. House of Representatives as a Republican in 2018. According to his March 6 filing, Freeman has raised $386.97, $101.97 of which he gave to himself. He has about $96 on hand.
“It is clear our current Mayor has failed to keep the promises he made four years ago,” Freeman said in a statement announcing his candidacy last month. “Mr. Tecklenburg’s administration has neither mitigated flooding, nor curbed harmful development, nor improved citizen’s livability.”
He also pledged to donate “at least half” of his salary as mayor. (Mayor Tecklenburg currently makes $188,222.11 a year, according to city transparency documents.)
[content-1] Tecklenburg has raised close to $339,000 so far, with $316,528 on hand as of his latest filing on Jan. 10. The mayor announced his bid for re-election in December, touting a focus on traffic, affordable housing, flooding and drainage, and the revitalization of West Ashley.
He was elected in 2015 with 57.5 percent of the vote in a runoff against Leon Stavrinakis, who represents parts of Charleston in the S.C. House. He succeeded 40-year mayor Joe Riley.
Charleston municipal elections are nonpartisan, but Riley was a prominent S.C. Democratic figurehead while in office, and Tecklenburg was endorsed by his old boss, U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings, during the 2015 race.
Charleston residents will vote for the next mayor of Charleston on Nov. 5.