Campbell letter backing Smith draws complaints

A letter signed by Gov. Carroll Campbell backing Republican City Council candidate Don Ray Smith has drawn Democratic complains of partnership.

In the letter to some District 2 voters, Campbell describes Smith as a “man of strong character, with a real concern for his neighbors and his community.”

It concludes by stating “This will be a great opportunity to keep Greenville moving forward. Let’s make the best of that opportunity by electing Don Ray Smith.”

Smith faces incumbent Democrat Lillian Brock Flemming in the only contested race Tuesday.

State Democratic Chairman Frank Holleman said the letter was “unusual in its content and it might be unusual in the way it was sent out,” he said. “It has not been unusual for Carroll Campbell to get involved in partisan attacks at this level.”

Tucker Eskew, a Campbell spokesman, said it is not unusual for Campbell to support Republican candidates.

County Democratic Chairman Billy Webster shows that Republicans are putting a lot of work into this race.

“It certainly shows that the Republicans party is trying very hard to win this one to go to the effort to have the governor write a letter for a candidate at the City Council level,” he said.

Holleman called the letter an attack on Mrs. Flemming.

“It’s written in a way to be very critical of Lillian Brock Flemming,” he said. She could not be reached today.

He referred to a sentence that states: “He (Smith) shares our opposition to government programs that give people handouts, while destroying the self-respect and dignity that comes from a steady job and economic independence.”

“I think that at the very least it implies that Lillian does not share that view,” Holleman said. “And secondly, my question is: Has he sent this letter only to white people?”

Bob Knight, Smith’s campaign adviser, said most of the letters were sent to registered Republicans in the district, which would have made the group predominantly white. But he said he knew some blacks in the district did receive letters.