Mysterious mailer and sign move race for Lexington County Council District 6 seat to new low
Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – A mysterious mailer and sign that was a blatant attempt to paint one candidate for Lexington County Council Seat 6, Ms. Charli Wessinger, as a very liberal Democrat has become a huge mystery in the Chapin area of the county. The mailer hit Chapin residents’ mailboxes late last week and coincided with the installation of the sign bearing the same claims that mysteriously appeared on busy Columbia Avenue about the same time.
Wessinger, running as a Republican candidate in the Lexington County Council District 6 race that covers all of Chapin and parts of the Irmo and the Lexington area, released a statement to the press over the weekend that flatly denied any of the outrageous accusations. Her release was joined by one from Erin Long-Bergeson, the councilmember who currently holds the seat and is not running for reelection.
Wessinger is facing Johnny Jeffcoat, a man with decades of political experience, who has held the seat before and made both friends and enemies in the area as any politician would do. Some even wondered if such a seasoned politician would do something like this, or even have prior knowledge of it. It had to be obvious from the outset that this would infuriate the voters and would almost certainly blow back on Jeffcoat.
Still others have even speculated that some Wessinger supporters did this for exactly that reason, to paint Jeffcoat as a villain who went so deep in the mud that he or his supporters viciously attacked a fine young lady who’s running for her first political office. Wessinger is certainly not experienced enough in politics to perpetrate something like that and is just not the dirty, gutter fighter type. A reverse psychology maneuver like this would take a devious, treacherous, and experienced political operative the likes of which has never been seen in Lexington County.
The mailer was specifically sent to registered Republican primary voters’ addresses. It was false endorsement for Wessinger by a group calling itself, “Democrats for Charli.” The first problem is, there appears to be no such group of record in Lexington County or anywhere else for that matter. In super conservative Lexington County, almost no one registers as a Democrat and any candidate that comes out in support of a liberal agenda or has that ideology is almost always going to crash and burn at the polls.
Wessinger supporters checked with the Lexington County Democratic Party last week and they responded by saying, “We do not now, nor have we ever endorsed Republicans in their primaries. These mailers did not come from us. If you have received one of these in the mail or have any information regarding where they are actually coming from, please message us or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
This stunt by whoever perpetrated it is dark if not midnight black money at its worst. Dark money, something that has been in the sites of legislatures for years, is money spent by an individual or group to either endorse or trashes a political candidate anonymously. In the case of this mailer, it includes no wording that would indicate who wrote it, who approved it, or who had it printed and mailed it as other political ads do. It was distributed using stamps rather that a postal permit. A permit, the most common means of distributing political mailers, would allow the piece to be traced back to whoever paid to send it. The return address on the mailer is the Publix at the Chapin Crossing shopping center in Chapin. In other words, someone went to great lengths to hide their tracks to pull this off.
Apparently, whoever sent the mailer also posted a sign that said, “Democrats for Charli” on land owned by Broad River-Friarsgate, LLC, close to the entrance of the Brighten Technical Park. That Lexington County owned park was pushed by Jeffcoat while previously on council. The park has been sitting empty since its completion.
Jeffcoat recently reiterated that plans for Brighten were to house support businesses for the two new nuclear reactors that were under construction at the V.C. Summer nuclear generating facility at the time. That construction in Jenkinsville,SC eventually collapsed and brought down SCANA, the only Fortune 500 company based in South Carolina. The entire park has left a bad taste in the mouths of many people of Chapin and many blame Jeffcoat.
Ironically, the land the sign was placed on is owned by Broad River-Friarsgate, LLC, which was a Mungo-owned company. Although Mungo eventually sold to Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway but retained the name Mungo after its founder and the family who operated it for decades. Jeffcoat has been well acquainted with the Mungos for years and many say that he and Stewart Mungo are close personal friends. The placement of the sign and the Mungo/Jeffcoat relationship was missed by no one.
In her statement regarding the mailer and sign, Councilmember Erin Long-Bergerson wrote, “This was a desperate attempt to discredit Charli’s values and to mislead and manipulate voters with false information.”
Wessinger and many voters who reached out to her campaign, Republican and Democrat alike, are livid that someone would violate multiple federal laws by omitting any sign of were either the items originated, “While implying voters are not smart enough to know the difference.” Wessinger wrote in her release. “Actions like these erode the sanctity of the election process and perpetuate a distrust of the political process among citizens,” she concluded.
As of Monday, the mystery still stands unsolved along with the associated anger that accompanies it. We will all have to wait until Tuesday night to see if it has any effect on the outcome of that election. Erin Long Bergeson has endorsed Wessinger for the seat.