Spartanburg Mayoral candidates talk about issues and “offensive” robocall ahead of runoff election

Tuesday November 21, voters in Spartanburg decide who will be Mayor for the next 4 years.

Two weeks ago, there were three candidates.

Now, in this run-off election, it’s down to two: The incumbent, Mayor, Junie White, and former Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Todd Horne.

In recent days, the campaign has gotten a bit nasty, leaving both candidates to defend themselves.

Less than 24 hours before the election, both candidates wold prefer to talk about the issues.

“We need a proactive Mayor who is going to go out and recruit business and create jobs in Spartanburg,” said Horne.

“It’s not the mayor’s job, when you’ve got a city manager, that’s his job,” said White, in contrast.

But in a race too close to call, two weeks ago, there’s bound to be some political sparing.

“Spartanburg is ready for new energetic leadership, and the Mayor’s energy and the community’s energy need to be one and the same,” said Horne.

“No one’s ever said you don’t have any energy before, except during this campaign. I’ve got plenty of energy,” said White.

The race, in recent days has become uglier. One example is a robocall attacking Mayor White.

Here’s what it says:

“If you care about he future of Spartanburg, please take 60 seconds to listen to this important message. The Mayor runoff election is on Tuesday. We feel it’s important for you to know that one of the candidates, Mayor Junie White, (donated) $25,000 one recent sunday morning, in what can only be described as an attempt to buy the African American vote to get re-elected. In addition, one week before the election, he flipped his initial vote from back in January, when he strongly opposed spending $25 million dollars for an indoor pool, to suddenly endorse it. This sort of race bating politics has to stop. Mayor Junie White is not the one we want leading Spartanburg for another 4 years. Spartanburg needs and deserves better. Paid for by COAP”

White says he has a long history of giving money to churches, and the statement about the pool vote is all wrong.

“I don’t flip flop, I don’t hide behind anything.”

White says the TK Gregg pool on the Northside, would only cost the city $2 million, and support for the project has grown, along with private funds.

White’s campaign speculates his opponent is behind the calls, but Horne denies that.

“The robocalls that went out were not on behalf of our campaign and were not affiliated with it in any way,” said Horne.

2 Weeks ago, White was just 56 votes shy of the majority needed, with 49% of the vote to Horne’s 37% and Lakesha Whitner’s 13%.

In a rare move for a municipal election, Horne has bought ads on local TV.

Still, after 8 years as Mayor, White has name recognition in his favor. And he says he’s looking forward to tomorrow, if only to return to civility.

“Tell the truth. When you lie and create stories. It’s not good for the community.”

“Our goal has been to run a very positive campaign and cheer people the good things that are happening in Spartanburg, and why Spartanburg needs knew young energetic leadership,” said Horne.