Tuesday, February 12, 2019

23-year-old Councilman Harry Griffin "strongly considering" running for mayor of Charleston

Griffin says he won't support Tecklenburg's re-election

Posted by Adam Manno on Tue, Feb 12, 2019 at 12:06 PM

click to enlarge At the time of his election, then-22-year-old Harry Griffin was Charleston's youngest councilman "in living memory," according to the city. - ADAM MANNO
  • Adam Manno
  • At the time of his election, then-22-year-old Harry Griffin was Charleston's youngest councilman "in living memory," according to the city.
Charleston City Councilman Harry Griffin might throw his hat in the ring in November's race for mayor.

In a text message to the City Paper, Griffin said he's seriously thinking about running in the Nov. 5 nonpartisan election.

"I'm not ready to discuss my game plan yet," he wrote. "If my aspirations are to run this year, I will make a formal announcement. At this time, I am strongly considering."

The messages come after Griffin, in a promoted Facebook post paid for by his City Council campaign, wrote that he will not support Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg's bid for re-election.

"I believe that somewhere, in this city, we have a resident who would better serve our hardworking taxpayers," he wrote. "I do not believe Mayor Tecklenburg is a businessman and it has shown in both his professional and personal dealings with money."

Candidates for city-wide office must file to run with the city's legal department, but that process won't open up until the first Monday in August, according to city spokeswoman Chloe Field.

In a November 2017 run-off election, a 22-year-old Griffin beat opponent Summer Massey for a seat representing West Ashley to become Charleston's youngest councilman "in living memory," according to the city. He is a 2016 graduate of the Citadel and works in project procurement at Neal Brothers, a North Charleston export packing company.

Tecklenburg announced his intention to run for re-election in an email to supporters in December.

"In short, we've made real progress on the greatest challenges facing our city, and our citizens," the message read. "But we're not finished yet — there's still much critical work to be done."


Griffin's conservative politics differ from the progressive leanings of Tecklenburg and his predecessor Joe Riley, who ran the Holy City for 40 years and is now working to erect the International African American Museum in downtown Charleston.

Last June, Griffin surprised some of his fellow council members when he voted against a slavery apology he helped edit. The document denounced "the wrongs committed against African-Americans by the institution of slavery and Jim Crow."

"Instead of us saying where we're going, we should be talking about these actions first," Griffin said at a council meeting. "I can honestly say that I don’t look at my comrades and see color, and I can say that with my heart."

"I'm wondering whether or not I was being misled," said Councilman William Dudley Gregorie. "The word 'denounced' came from you."

On Monday, College of Charleston administrative assistant Will Freeman announced his own mayoral bid with a focus on flooding.

"As mayor I will give special attention to flood prevention projects for the Church Creek Basin in West Ashley," Freeman said in a press release. "I will personally lobby for funding, face-to-face with lawmakers in Columbia and Washington D.C., to get our tax dollars back home to fix our flooding issues citywide."

Other reports have pointed to the possibility that City Council members Keith Waring and Mike Seekings could also be interested in the job, though neither have confirmed any plans.

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