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Understand SC

Understand SC: Charleston's next sheriff talks reform after wave of new sheriffs elected

A Post and Courier Podcast

  • Updated

Kristin Graziano marked several milestones when she successfully won her campaign last week to be Charleston County's next sheriff.

She will be the first woman and first openly gay person to serve as sheriff in the state. Her election also marks the first time in more than 30 years that the office will see a change in leadership. 

Republican Al Cannon has been Charleston County's sheriff since he won a 1988 special election. Graziano's campaign was the first time Cannon faced a major challenger at the ballot box. 

We spoke with Graziano about why she ran and what actions she plans to take during her first weeks in office. She's pledged to launch financial and racial bias audits of the department and make the office more transparent.

Marcus McDonald, the young leader of the Independent Black Lives Matter Chapter of Charleston, weighed in on why the group supported Graziano's bid and what changes they hope to see. 

Sheriffs elections also told a statewide story: Residents in more than a quarter of the state’s counties voted out incumbents, likely the largest turnover of sheriffs South Carolina has seen. 

We called up reporter Joseph Cranney who followed those races and wrote about misuses of power among South Carolina sheriffs in the 2019 project "Above the Law." We talked about why it's unusual to see sheriffs voted out of office and what newly-elected sheriffs had to say about reforms they are pledging to implement once they're in office. 

Listen now to hear our fifth and final episode in our Election 2020 series. You can find the rest of the episodes here and sign up for our free weekly newsletter here

Understand SC is a weekly podcast from The Post and Courier that draws from the reporting resources and knowledge of our newsroom to help you better understand South Carolina. This episode was hosted by Emily Williams and Gavin McIntyre and edited by Matt Rasnic.

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Reach Emily Williams at 843-607-0894. Follow her on Twitter @emilye_williams.

Emily Williams is a business reporter at The Post and Courier, covering tourism and aerospace. She also writes the Business Headlines newsletter and co-hosts the weekly news podcast Understand SC.

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