By Paul Gable
Give the voters something to hate and tell them who is responsible. This appears to be the strategy of the Ken for Mayor campaign in Conway.
It has been a two-tier strategy. Since his campaign announcement, Richardson has stated “Conway is at a Crossroads” and “Take Conway Back” as keynotes of his message.
Richardson’s supporting minions have shared hate filled messages and name calling aimed at incumbent Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy.
At its core is the Pride Month proclamation signed by Mayor Blain-Bellamy in June and the giving of the Key to the City by Blain-Bellamy to Pete Buttigieg in 2020. Trying to stir up hatred against Blain-Bellamy for those two acts is apparently the campaign’s mission.
Richardson said in the recent mayoral debate he used to talk to his grandchildren about “transformers”, now the talk is about “transgender” and he doesn’t want to see “Conway become San Francisco”. The allusions are clear.
Minions supporting the Richardson candidacy, either directly or indirectly, have carried the hate messaging.
When Richardson signed the papers to file for the mayoral election, four people were in the room with him. Two of those were Drexel Drew and David Hucks.
Some may consider Drew a private citizen in this thing. However, viewing his past social media posts, including sharing the videos mentioned below, there is no doubt he is posting in the political realm with hate filled messages and videos he is posting or sharing. He has the right to post whatever he wants, but he can’t claim not to be involved in the politics of this campaign.
Hucks is a local blogger who many call more divisive than informative. Reading some of his recent posts, there is no doubt he is supporting Richardson, which is his right. He tried to support Richardson’s campaign for Congress and wound-up getting Richardson involved with a SLED investigation because of some of his actions.
Drew and Hucks have been sharing videos, ostensibly produced by a group called Fair Game, on social media. The videos are hit pieces on Blain-Bellamy. The videos, approximately 10 in all, are a disjointed mix of poor quality, poor content and hate messaging, which has been reported to Facebook and is under investigation now. At least one video used the suggestive word “groomers” in connection with the anti- LGBTQ message it was attempting to send . As soon as a new video appears, Hucks is the first and Drew the second to share it.
The John Gallman v. Luke Rankin race for SC Senate in 2020 is probably the most infamous political contest in county history. Gallman hired door knockers from Mobilize the Message LLC, out of Florida for that campaign. Gallman tried to get Richardson to hire Mobilize the Message for his Congressional campaign.
This time, Richardson has hired Mobilize the Message LLC, at a cost of $40,300. to flood the streets of Conway with “ideologically driven” door knockers carrying a pre-packaged message of why to vote for Richardson. Out of state recruited door knockers with no knowledge of Conway and no stake in Conway’s future. It’s an insult to the voters in Conway.
Justin Greiss is the COO of Mobilize the Message. Artwork, apparently produced by Greiss, was used on a mailer paid for by Ken for Mayor. The same artwork appeared on mailers sent to Conway voters by Defeating Communism PAC, out of Dublin, Ohio. The founder of this PAC, David Dudenhoefer, has supported candidates in the past who have hired Justin Greiss, the COO of Mobilize the Message, to provide door knockers.
The mailers from this ridiculous PAC included pictures of Blaine-Bellamy with Buttigieg and with a local Pride group. The messaging was Blain-Bellamy is a “radical Democrat” and stated, “Barbara Blaine(sic)-Bellamy used to be with us but now she is a radical anti-Trumper.” All an attempt to rouse emotions against her. Like I said above, give the voters something to hate and tell them who is responsible. That is the basic philosophy of many political campaigns today. It certainly is in the Richardson campaign, but it does nothing to benefit the voters.
Here’s the problem with all of the hate messaging – Barbara Blain-Bellamy hasn’t changed, Conway hasn’t changed and the voters of Conway know this. Conway is not at a crossroads and there is nothing to take it back from.
None of the above four, Drew, Hucks, Gallman or Greiss, live in Conway. They don’t have any long-term investment in Conway’s future. Their only goal appears to be to spew enough hatred and vitriol at the mayor to maybe stop her from being reelected.