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Candidate running for SC House 116 sues Hollywood mayor, says she should resign

Candidate running for SC House 116 sues Hollywood mayor, says she should resign


HOLLYWOOD, SC (WCSC) – A Republican running for a Statehouse seat has sued the mayor of a Charleston County city and accused her of violating South Carolina ethics laws.

James Teeple, who is running against the Rev. Charlie Murray to represent House District 116, sued Hollywood Mayor and former Rep. Chardale Murray on charges that she violated House Law Section 8-13-1346. South Carolina, which prohibits the use of public funds, property or time to influence an election.

The lawsuit claims the mayor used the city's official Facebook page on multiple occasions to publicly support and endorse his brother's campaign with the intent of harming or sabotaging Teeples' campaign.

A Republican hoping for a Statehouse seat sued a Charleston county mayor...
A Republican running for a Statehouse seat has sued the mayor of a Charleston County city and accused her of violating South Carolina ethics laws.(James Teeple for State House, Chardale Murray, Murray for SC House)

It says that using the city's Facebook page, Chardale Murray used government assets to influence the outcome of the election in favor of her brother.

Teeple shared screenshots of those posts, which he said have since been removed on the City of Hollywood's Facebook page. Among these is one that shows a media report announcing Charlie Murray's candidacy with a city caption that read: Go, Reverend Charlie L. Murray Jr.! This was allegedly the first of the messages.

Teeple reportedly asked the city of Hollywood to remove his first Facebook post about the campaign, which he says he didn't do until he threatened legal action, but they later made another post on Facebook endorsing Reverend Murray.

He said that with the attention the posts received on Facebook before they were removed, he felt like he was fighting an unfair fight. I can race Charlie and beat him, Teeple said, but I can't race Charlie and his sister, the mayor of Hollywood and the city of Hollywood. I can't run against all these people.

Teeple's lawsuit also says his campaign is still suffering because potential voters were continually exposed to this influence. Teeple himself expressed concern about the implications of such influence.

If they don't vote because they think it's a fait accompli because the city and the mayor are tipping the scales, then that's voter suppression, Teeple said.

Teeple also said his attorney contacted Charlie Murray's attorney, who allegedly claimed Murray was unaware of the Facebook posts.

If I'm running for state office and I don't know if there is illegal activity on my town's Facebook page from my sister, then I don't have to serve in the Assembly state legislature, Teeple said. I don't have to make a law if I can't keep it.

Murray's campaign released a statement on the lawsuit:

Obviously this is ridiculous. Reverend Murray has no control over what his supporters post on Facebook. Mr. Teeple, who is a far-right extremist, and his attorney, who has already been reprimanded by the South Carolina Supreme Court, are using the legal system to create a false political narrative. Reverend Murray is a respected member of this community, and voters here will not be fooled by these brazen shenanigans.

Teeple claims to be as central as possible and says he has never been called far-right or extremist before this statement. He also said comments about his legal representation seemed like a diversion attempt.

However, one important element of this statement caught Teeple's attention.

He's not a partisan, he's his sister, he's also his business partner, the mayor of the town where he lives, sad Teeple. He is an intelligent man and I give him more credit than that for being so ignorant that he has no idea what is being put out on the Facebook page by his sister, the mayor and the town he lives in . That's a pretty lame excuse.

Teeple believes that certain steps must be taken to restore the integrity of elections and the trust of the people.

I think Chardale and Charlie have no business representing our district and making laws that others have to follow when apparently they think they don't. I think they need to… in my opinion, she needs to resign and he needs to give up.

The mayor's office has not yet responded to a request for comment.




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