Candidate in race for SC House 116 sues Hollywood mayor, saying she should resign

HOLLYWOOD, S.C. (WCSC) – A Republican hoping for a seat in the state House has sued the mayor of a Charleston County city, accusing her of violating South Carolina ethics laws.

James Teeple, who is running against the Rev. Charlie Murray to represent House District 116, has sued Hollywood Mayor and former Rep. Chardale Murray over claims that she violated Section 8-13-1346 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, which ‘use of public resources, property, or time’ to influence an election.

The lawsuit alleges that the mayor used the city’s official Facebook page multiple times to publicly support and endorse her brother’s campaign with the intent to harm or sabotage Teeple’s campaign.

It says Mayor Murray, by using the city’s Facebook page, used government property to influence the outcome of the election in her brother’s favor.

Teeple shared screenshots of these posts, which he says have since been deleted from Town of Hollywood’s Facebook page. Among them is one that shows a media release announcing Rev. Murray’s candidacy with a caption from the congregation that says, “Go Rev. Charlie L. Murray Jr.!” This was reportedly the first of the messages.

Teeple reportedly asked the City of Hollywood to remove their first Facebook post about the campaign, which he said he only did when he threatened legal action, but then “proceeded to make another Facebook post in which they Rev. Murray supported.”

He said that given the attention the Facebook posts received before they were deleted, he felt like he was fighting an unfair fight. “I can run a race against Charlie and beat him,” Teeple said, “but I can’t run against Charlie and his sister, the mayor of Hollywood, and the city of Hollywood. I can’t compete against all these people.”

Teeple’s lawsuit also says his campaign continues to suffer because potential voters were continually exposed to this influence. Teeple himself said he was concerned about the consequences of such influence.

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“If they don’t vote because they think it’s a done deal, because the city and the mayor are tipping the balance, then that’s voter suppression,” Teeple said.

Teeple also said his attorney had contacted Rev. Murray’s attorney, who claimed Murray was unaware of the Facebook posts.

“If I am running for state office and I am not aware of any illegal activity taking place on my city’s Facebook page by my sister… then I have no business being part of the state legislature,” said Teeple. “I have no business making laws if I can’t follow the law.”

Pastor Murray’s campaign released a statement about the lawsuit:

“This is obviously ridiculous. Rev. Murray has no control over what his supporters post on Facebook. Mr. Teeple, a far-right extremist, and his lawyer, who was previously reprimanded by the SC Supreme Court, are using the legal system to create a false political narrative. Rev. Murray is a respected member of this community, and voters here will not be misled by these brazen pranks.”

Teeple claims to be as central as can be, saying he was never called a far-right or extremist before this statement. He also said the comments on his legal representation felt like an attempt at distraction.

However, one important thing in that statement stood out to Teeple.

“It’s not a supporter, it’s his sister, it’s also his business partner, the mayor of the city where he lives,” says Teeple sadly. “He is a smart man and I give him more credit than that because he is so ignorant that he has no idea what is being spread on the Facebook page by his sister, the mayor and the city he lives in. That’s a pretty lame excuse. ”

Teeple believes that certain actions must be taken to restore the integrity of the elections and the trust of the people.

“I don’t think Chardale and Charlie have anything to do with representing our district and making laws for others to follow when they apparently think they don’t. I think they should… in my opinion she should resign and he should drop out.”

The mayor’s office has not yet responded to a request for comment.