It's official: Author and former Post and Courier columnist David Farrow will challenge 35-year incumbent Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. for his position in November. Farrow announced yesterday that he had paid the $1,000 filing fee to enter the race.
In a press release, Farrow rips into Riley:
"There is a very strong undercurrent of discontent that isn't necessarily publicized. That undercurrent is growing into an undertow which I believe could foreshadow a tsunami. Mayor Riley is no longer the unflappable, extremely popular Mayor that he was in the years following Hurricane Hugo. People have HAD ENOUGH, and I believe I have what it takes to get Charleston working again and regain a sense of community."
While Riley has hired a squad of 16 college students, dubbed Joe's Neighborhood Corps, to seek public input, Farrow has taken a more low-budget tack to gauge public concerns: weekly Town Hall Meeting sessions on the David Farrow for Mayor Facebook page. In an Aug. 11 session, someone asked if Farrow intended to create new business incentives or regulations. He replied that high taxes and excessive regulations were stifling business in Charleston.
"I believe in market forces, not command economies," he wrote. "The city is gorging other businesses to feed the tourism beast."
Farrow's platform includes establishing a 12-year mayoral term limit, increasing spending transparency, and fixing drainage issues on the Crosstown.
Farrow joins City Councilman William Dudley Gregorie in the race. The two other announced candidates, Riley and middle school teacher Craig Jelks, have not officially filed yet. The deadline for filing is Aug. 29.