Post and Courier
September 30, 2014

Private poll shows early front-runners in Charleston mayor race

Posted: 06/08/2014 12:01 a.m.
Updated: 06/08/2014 09:07 a.m.


A privately funded poll shows the November 2015 race for mayor of Charleston has a few popular names out front but otherwise remains wide open.

Even so, it was good news for Leon Stavrinakis.

Former state lawmaker Jimmy Bailey of Charleston recently paid to have an early survey done of city voters to see where his name identification stands should he enter the race formally.

Based on the results, Stavrinakis, a Democratic state representative from the West Ashley section of Charleston, remains the first pick on the minds of voters, though he hasn't formally jumped in.

Bailey's poll included the names of 10 individuals, including some who have not shown an interest in succeeding retiring Mayor Joe Riley. The question was: If the election were held today and the candidates were (names here) which would get your vote?

The results were:

Stavrinakis: 21 percent

City Councilman William Dudley Gregorie: 15 percent

Businesswoman Linda Ketner: 14 percent

Businessman John Tecklenburg: 11 percent

Jimmy Bailey: 8 percent

City Councilman Mike Seekings: 5 percent

Councilman Bill Moody: 5 percent

City Councilman Dean Riegel: 1 percent

Not sure: 20 percent

Of the pack, only Tecklenburg has formally committed to running. Riegel has said he would be a candidate; Gregorie, a past mayoral hopeful, has said he never has stopped running; while Moody has said he is not interested.

Bailey said the results mainly illustrate name recognition, rather than any connection to issues, and that he is still evaluating whether he'll launch a full-scale run. The automated phone survey reached 494 voters and was conducted by Triton Polling & Research of Henderson, Nev., on May 20-22.

It reached voters across nine city ZIP codes and has a 95 percent probability of being the true picture, according to the synopsis.

The race is expected to be a crowded one. Because Bailey is not a declared candidate, the poll is not considered a campaign expenditure.

Boehner in Charleston

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was in town last week for a fundraiser to boost his political action committee aimed at electing Republicans. The gathering drew a collection of GOP figures to the home of former state Transportation Secretary Buck Limehouse on Johns Island.

Among the guests, Limehouse said, were current South Carolina congressmen Mark Sanford, Joe Wilson and Tom Rice. Past congressmen who took part included Tommy Hartnett and Arthur Ravenel. Sue Myrick, also a former member of Congress and the ex-mayor of Charlotte, was there too, as was former S.C. governor Jim Edwards.

Boehner was spotted dining at The Oak Steakhouse on Broad Street on Thursday night, and was protected by heavy security.

Robocall warning

The S.C. Republican Party has issued a precautionary alert to the campaigns here not to get involved in those annoying and illegal recorded phone messages known as "Robocalls."

"South Carolina state law requires a live person/operator be on the telephone if a call is made to a South Carolina landline or cell phone," Chairman Matt Moore said in a recent message.

For instance, automated robocalls without a live operator and answered by a recipient are strictly prohibited. Pre-recorded messages may be played for the recipient of a call only after a live operator introduces the message. Calls should also clearly identify the originating source ("this call was paid for by John Doe for Dog Catcher").

But that didn't stop the calls from surfacing.

Last week, an out-of-state group targeted U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., with a robocall campaign. In its messages, "Americans for Legal Immigration" asks receivers to call the two lawmakers and "thank" them for supporting "amnesty" for illegal immigrants.

The audio message is delivered as a back-handed slam, saying that by supporting a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants the pair supports their future participation in U.S. elections, education, unemployment insurance and other benefits.

The group has endorsed Spartanburg state Sen. Lee Bright in Tuesday's Republican primary.

GOP race for Super

With just two days left until the primary, superintendent of education candidate Meka Childs stands out from the crowd with more endorsements by state lawmakers than the rest of the Republican pack.

Unlike Molly Spearman and Sally Atwater, whose campaign funds exceed $100,000, Childs' campaign is counting on the support of state lawmakers for momentum in the race. Her most recent supporters include House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville.

Other notable backers include Superintendent of Education Mick Zais and former first lady Jenny Sanford.

While 17 members of the House have given her endorsements, none have come from Charleston-area House members.