A former candidate for sheriff of Greenville county, South Carolina is mounting another political campaign – this time for the state legislature. Veteran law enforcement officer Sam Manley is campaigning for the GOP nomination for S.C. House District 18 (.pdf), billing himself as a “pro-life, pro-God, pro-gun” conservative.
The only problem? His past could come back to haunt him with social conservatives …
You never know who Upstate voters are going to hold accountable … or who they are going to decide to forgive and forget.
As this news outlet reported back in 2016, Manley had some serious issues during his tenure with the Greenville county sheriff’s office – including being terminated twice by former sheriff Steve Loftis (once in 2009 and again in 2012).
In the first case, Manley was fired for “knowingly falsifying a document.” In the second case, he was fired for three reasons – making a “false entry on a report,” “unprofessional behavior” and “conduct unbecoming a Sheriff’s Deputy.”
Some of the allegations against Manley involved professional matters (including “side job” questions similar to those at the heart of a more recent inquiry at the sheriff’s office).
Other allegations documented in his personnel file were far more personal …
Manley finished in fifth-place (in a five-person field) in the 2016 GOP primary for sheriff – drawing a modest five percent of the vote.
Despite his prior issues, Manley is touting various decorations and commendations received during his tenure as a Greenville deputy in his campaign for the legislature, saying they showcase his “dedication to serving the people.”
(Click to view)
“I’m running for this seat to promote conservative values throughout this great state and fight off the big government ideas of the left,” Manley (above) wrote on his campaign Facebook page last month.
This district – which includes the northeastern portion of Greenville county – has been represented since 2009 by businessman Tommy Stringer, of Greer, S.C. A staunch social and fiscal conservative, Stringer was one of only eight House Republicans to score a perfect “100 percent” rating on a 2019 scorecard compiled by the Republican Liberty Caucus of South Carolina.
No Democrats have filed for this seat in more than a decade, and Stringer has handily defeated GOP primary challengers in 2014 and 2018.
In 2016, U.S. president Donald Trump carried this district with a whopping 71.1 percent of the vote. Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney fared even better, drawing 72.8 percent of the vote in the 2012 general election.
We reached out to Stringer to get his thoughts on the upcoming race.
“The beauty of America is that just about any citizen can run for office,” he told us. “The voters will determine the quality of each candidate and who best represents them.”
As of this writing, Manley has yet to file any paperwork with the S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC). Meanwhile, Stringer reported having less than $10,000 in his campaign account, per the latest disclosure filed with the agency on January 10, 2020.
As we point out in all of these candidate stories, every single seat in the 170-member S.C. General Assembly is up for election in 2020. That includes all 46 S.C. Senate districts and all 124 seats in the S.C. House of Representatives.
Unfortunately, as we have frequently pointed out, very few of these races wind up being competitive.
Candidate filing for legislative seats opens at 12:00 p.m. EDT on March 16, 2020 and closes at the same time on March 30. Partisan primary elections will be held on June 9, 2020 – with runoff elections held on June 23, 2020, if necessary (if no candidate receives a majority of votes in a partisan primary election in South Carolina, the two top vote-getters advance to a head-to-head matchup two weeks later).
Once major party nominees are selected (and any petition candidates are certified), the general election will take place on November 3, 2020.
We will continue to keep an eye on this particular primary race as filing approaches … assessing developments as best we can and (as always) offering our microphone to Stringer, Manley and any other candidates who may file for the seat.
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