By Paul Gable
It took a while for the Richardson campaign to come out of the closet, but last week’s chapter of its full-page ads provided a glimpse of what it is really about.
“Is the current mayor of Conway really a liberal,” the ad asks. And, “Ken Richardson for Mayor, a strong conservative.” The old classic “traditional American values” was thrown in for good measure.
The Richardson for Mayor campaign really has no local issues to address other than Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy signing a proclamation declaring Pride Month in Conway and giving the key to the city to Pete Buttigieg three years ago.
This is the old trick which has been part of the national level political playbook since the 1970’s. If you have nothing to say for yourself, attack the opponent. Give voters something to be afraid of and tell them the current mayor is to blame for it.
The Richardson ads claim he is the “inclusive” candidate and is the one where “all voices are respected.” However, the messaging in the most recent ad would contradict that contention. The messaging also is filled with the same word salad, which has been a staple of its non-content, with no specifics about issues important to the Conway voters and their quality of life.
By contrast, the Blain-Bellamy campaign messaging has been about real local issues such as Public Safety, Business, Recreation, Flooding, Growth and Quality of Life in the City of Conway. These are the local issues which affect residents of Conway on a daily basis.
Are community policing to make neighborhoods safer, flood mitigation programs, recreation programs, managed growth and a strong business community liberal or conservative issues? I don’t think they are either, but they are the issues addressed by the current mayor during her two terms in office.
The role of a city government is to make all residents feel welcomed, respected and safe and secure in their community. It is not to descend into the name-calling mess that we see in Washington.
One candidate in this race gets that.
There is a debate between Richardson and Blain-Bellamy next week at Coastal Carolina University. The debate will be livestreamed so every voter in Conway has the opportunity to see and hear what the two candidates are about. Word salad doesn’t work in a debate about issues.