The heat has been turned up another notch in the state Senate District 22 race with a video and mailers targeting Democratic state Rep. Mia McLeod’s consulting contracts with the city of Columbia.
The S.C. Senate Republican Caucus, which backs Republican Susan Brill for the Northeast Richland district seat, released a Facebook video on Oct. 10 slamming McLeod for accepting up-to-$49,500 from the city of Columbia for consulting work while she was a state legislator.
“And getting rich off taxpayer dollars doesn’t just smell bad,” the video reads while showing stacks of money and ominous music plays in the background. “IT STINKS.”
The caucus also sent mailers to District 22 residents saying, in all-caps, that McLeod is “turning your tax dollars into her profit.” And it set up a website, miamcleodforsenate.com, to host the message on yet another medium.
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McLeod was paid $24,300 – at $200 an hour – to help Columbia find a new police chief between November 2013 and April 2014. The city then paid her $26,025 – at $150 an hour – to assist new chief Skip Holbrook from November 2014 through June 2015.
McLeod, who is leaving her S.C. House seat in hopes of succeeding outgoing Democratic state Sen. Joel Lourie, told her supporters Thursday the ads “reek of desperation.”
GOP presidential candidate “Donald Trump must be very proud of Susan Brill,” McLeod added in an email.
While everyone else was disgusted by the nastiness and personal attacks of the presidential debates, my opponent’s campaign was taking notes.”
State Rep. Mia McLeod, D-Richland
“While everyone else was disgusted by the nastiness and personal attacks of the presidential debates,” McLeod wrote, “my opponent’s campaign was taking notes.”
Brill denies any involvement in the video and mailer. She said the GOP caucus did not consult her before creating them.
“I am not desperate. I have never been that type of person,” said the Richland 2 school board member and former Richland County Council member. “If this is something the caucus and the party wants to do, they are free to express their opinion.”
Brill also said McLeod’s campaign went negative first, using September push polls to insinuate Brill has accomplished nothing on the school board but raising taxes.
“They were really grasping for things on how they could go negative against me,” Brill said.
McLeod’s campaign manager said he has no idea what Brill is talking about. Trav Robertson said he has never used a push poll in his life. Brill’s campaign is making that up to justify going negative, he said. “I would be more than happy to tell you if it was me.”
Both candidates also noted last week that they have been endorsed by business-minded political action committees.
On Monday, McLeod announced she had been endorsed by the normally Republican political arm of the S.C. Chamber of Commerce. Brill noted she had been endorsed by the S.C. Business and Industry Political Education Committee PAC.
BIPEC tracks legislation in order to keep its member-businesses in the State House loop, according to the nonprofit’s president, Thomas DeLoach.
BIPEC’s political arm is backing Brill because of McLeod’s track record in the House and Brill’s responses to a questionnaire, DeLoach said. The PAC said Brill’s election is “crucial and will result directly in the creation of jobs and a higher standard of living for all South Carolinians.”
▪ U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston, will host a barbecue fundraiser Thursday to benefit recovery from Hurricane Matthew. The 6 p.m. fundraiser will be held at Founders Hall at Charles Towne Landing in Charleston.
▪ Meanwhile, Scott’s opponent again blasted the GOP senator’s continued support of GOP nominee Trump.
“My opponent is always quick to tout his faith and values, but how does condoning sexual assault and violence against women figure into that?” North Charleston pastor Thomas Dixon said at a press conference in Columbia. “Those are neither Christian or family values.”
▪ U.S. House 2nd District candidate Arik Bjorn, a Democrat, has picked up the endorsement of the National Education Association Fund for Children and Public Education. Bjorn is trying to upset longtime U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, in the Nov. 8 general election.