BERKELEY COUNTY, SC –With less than a week until voters in Berkeley County pick their new sheriff – tonight, community members got to hear from some of the candidates.
The National Action Network hosted a debate in the Berkeley County Council Chambers. Officials say more candidates were expected to attend.
There were two write-in candidates and then Anthony Smalls, who is the only democratic candidate on the sheriff ballot.
Smalls told News 2, “I just want to apologize to all of the people that haven’t seen my face. I ran a low-budget campaign.”
Smalls is the democratic candidate for Berkeley County Sheriff and the only democrat to run. Tonight we asked him why we haven’t really seen him until now. Smalls explained, “Most of what I’ve spent so far came out of my pocket, so I couldn’t get around to all of the neighborhoods that I needed to – but I just want to apologize to those people and let them know that I’m serious about being sheriff of Berkeley County.”
Smalls will face Duane Lewis in the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Election on June 9th. Lewis wasn’t at the debate tonight. Lewis’ campaign manager told News 2 they didn’t find out about this debate until Monday and unfortunately they had prior campaign commitments.
On Wednesday night, only Anthony Smalls and write-in candidates, M.C. Bellew and Derrick Burbage attended the debate.
Bellew said, “Well I’m not sure why they didn’t show up and rather than speculate I think that’s up to them to answer as to why they weren’t here.”
Supporters of GOP primary candidate, Brian Adams, attended the debate. Many of Adams’ supporters have been very outspoken about allegations that Duane Lewis didn’t graduate from high school.
Allegations quashed by Lewis’ camp.
Tonight, the three candidates delved into the diploma debate.
Debate attendee, Kimberly Eller, said, “What would they do if they had an employee who lied on an affidavit or an application? And all the candidates agreed that would be grounds for dismissal. I would’ve loved to of heard Lewis’ response to that question.”
The debate panel was members of the National Action Network and Berkeley County residents.
About 50 people watched the debate; many encouraging each other to get out and vote next Tuesday.
Burbage said, “Vote for integrity. Vote for somebody that’s going to make change, somebody that cares about Berkeley County. Vote for somebody that lives in Berkeley County, has grown up in Berkeley County and wants to see this county be a better place.”
Officials from the National Action Network said they used a press conference last week to let the candidates know about the debate, and started reaching out to them personally this weekend…but many candidates said they didn’t know until the last minute.