Controversial incumbent faces political newcomer in District 10 City Council race

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Incumbent Councilman Harry Griffin (Photo: City of Charleston) and Stephen Bowden (Photo: campaign)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – West Ashley voters will decide on Nov. 2 whether they want to be represented by a controversial incumbent or a newcomer to the political scene.

Harry Griffin, one-term councilman and shipping logistics manager, is facing off against attorney Stephen Bowden for the District 10 seat in the Charleston City Council.

This race is perhaps the highest-profile because of some controversial incidents involving Griffin back in 2020. He was originally scheduled to speak at an event held by the Proud Boys in December of last year, but never attended and later disavowed the group. Shortly after, an expletive-ridden phone call leaked in which Griffin was railing against other council members.

Attempting to separate himself from the controversy, Griffin said on his campaign website that the focus of the race should be the problems directly affecting West Ashley residents, like traffic and flooding. Both candidates are focused on flood relief, specifically the Church Creek Basin. Bowden and Griffin say they prioritize fixing development and infrastructure problems that create significant flooding for surrounding neighborhoods like Shadowmoss, Grand Oaks, and Village Green, among others.

Griffin has highlighted the steps that he and the City Council have taken to mitigate flooding including introducing stricter stormwater standards, investing millions of dollars to acquire land for storage, and a ban on ‘fill and build.’

Another issue plaguing West Ashley is traffic gridlock, an issue that both candidates promise to tackle by expanding Glenn McConnell Parkway.

The most contentious issue between the two popped up during a candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters earlier this month and centered on the Equity Race and Inclusion Commission report and policing.

“I understand Mr. Bowden is a public defender so I don’t know how many murderers, rapists, or drug addicts, or drug pushers he’s helped get off,” Griffin said adding, “I will never, ever vote to defund the police, I will never support reparations.”

Bowden responded calling Griffin’s comment a “disgusting smear.”

Voters can visit the polls on Election Day or participate in absentee voting at the Charleston County Board of Elections in North Charleston now through Nov. 1.

You can find more information on Harry Griffin’s campaign here.

You can find more information on Stephen Bowden’s campaign here.

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