Political leaders and insiders won’t get a “free pass” on facing penalties for offenses, 11th Circuit solicitor candidate Rick Hubbard promised Wednesday.
His pledge came as the battle between Hubbard and two challengers to be chosen chief prosecutor in Lexington County and nearby areas intensifies as their political showdown nears.
Any officeholder will “answer for what you’ve done,” Hubbard told supporters gathered for a news conference at Virginia Hylton Park in Lexington.
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His promise comes after suggestions that favoritism happened with Hubbard’s acquiescence while he was a top aide to retiring Solicitor Donnie Myers.
He denied favoritism happened under Myers and said it “certainly won’t happen with me at the helm.”
Those in elected posts should expect to be held to more stringent conduct, he said. “I understand I will be held to a higher standard” as solicitor, he said.
Both Lively and Wedekind are trying to turn Myers’ support for Hubbard into a political weapon against him.
Their hope is that voters unhappy with Myers’ three arrests for alcohol-related traffic offenses in the past 11 years will turn away from Hubbard.
Hubbard promised to continue Myers’ tough-on-violent-crime approach.
“That’s a reputation this county continues to need to have,” he said. “Violent criminals know Lexington County is a place where you will pay the price.”
He intends to focus on settling most criminal offenses within a year after charges are made to help relieve overcrowding at local jails.
Myers is retiring after serving a state record of 40 years as chief prosecutor in Lexington, Edgefield, McCormick and Saluda counties. Voters in each of those counties will make the choice for his successor.
Winning the GOP contest is tantamount to being elected Nov. 8 since no Democrat is running.
Myers and law enforcement leaders support Hubbard, citing his 22 years of experience as a prosecutor.
Wedekind also was an assistant solicitor under Myers. Former Grand Strand assistant prosecutor Lively is on the faculty at the University of South Carolina law school.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483