Davis, Brown square off

Henry Brown (left) and Dan Davis, who are in a runoff election for the position of Berkeley County Supervisor, debate Monday on 'Morning Buzz' with Richard Todd on WTMA-AM.

There are few signs these days of the longtime friendship between Berkeley County Supervisor Dan Davis and U.S. Rep. Henry Brown.

With the two locked in battle for Davis' job, they sparred for an hour Monday on WTMA-AM's "Morning Buzz" with Richard Todd.

Brown spent much of the debate as the aggressor, and with the pair sitting just 3 feet apart, questioned his one-time good friend's honesty and integrity .

"If you break a promise on one issue, you'll break a promise on another," Brown said. "Why don't you just come out and tell the truth? … If there's no integrity in place, no honesty in place, you can come out with anything."

Davis disputed Brown's claims and defended his record. When asked by Todd whether he still considered Brown a friend, Davis didn't hesitate.

"Less of a friend," he said.

Davis won the Republican primary by three votes over Brown last week, sending the race to a runoff next Tuesday. There is no Democrat seeking the supervisor's job, which pays $131,000 per year.

Davis supported Brown in his previous campaigns for the Statehouse and Congress. Both men live in Hanahan, where Davis was a former city administrator.

Brown accused Davis of breaking a promise to county residents by using some of the local-option sales-tax rebate money in recent budgets instead of giving it back to property owners to lower their tax bills, as called for in the 1996 referendum that authorized the penny sales-tax increase.

Davis said that decision was county council's because council approves the budget. Brown said Davis was being dishonest, since he prepares the budget and tries to sell it to council.

Todd also asked Brown why he was running for supervisor after he said he wanted to retire from Congress to spend more time with his family.

Brown said he wanted to move back home so he wouldn't have to be away from his family, but that didn't mean he was retiring altogether. "I didn't ever intend to just quit when I left Congress," he said.

Brown said he's running for supervisor because so many people said they were unhappy with the current administration.

Davis said that Brown told him he was running for supervisor and asked Davis to step aside.

"I didn't feel like that was the right thing to do," Davis said. "I really think I'm the best person for the job."

Brown also announced that the third-place finisher in the race, Hanahan Mayor Minnie Blackwell, now is backing him.

Blackwell confirmed her support in a phone call, reversing a statement last week that she wasn't supporting either candidate. She said she is campaigning actively for Brown and urging her supporters to do likewise.

Davis said many of Blackwell's supporters have told him they would vote for him.