A candidate forum Tuesday featuring embattled incumbent Beaufort County Treasurer Joy Logan and challenger Doug Henderson was a polite affair in which neither candidate directly addressed or outwardly criticized the other.
Henderson and Logan were the opening act Tuesday night of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce's candidate forum at the Quality Inn on Boundary Street.
Candidates for Beaufort City Council, Beaufort County School Board and three-quarters of the field running to represent South Carolina's 2nd Congressional District also spoke Tuesday.
The 30-minute forum between Henderson and Logan featured both candidates making opening and closing remarks and fielding questions submitted by voters and vetted by a four-member panel selected by the chamber.
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Henderson, a 66-year-old Cat Island resident and retired banker, said he was in the race to help fix the Treasurer's Office.
"There are certain things that you have to do to run a successful operation," Henderson said. "I feel like there are many things we can change in the Treasurer's Office to improve the current operation. As your county treasurer, I will be accountable in good times and in bad. If something happens on my watch, hold me accountable."
Logan, who has served as county treasurer since 1991, said her time in office speaks for itself.
"During my tenure ... there have been many accomplishments," Logan said. "You'll find that there are things that there have been no problems with that I have put in my place myself."
Neither the submitted questions or the remarks or answers given by the candidates directly addressed the arrest in May of former Treasurer's Office employee Casaundra White, who is accused of stealing more than $210,000 from public accounts.
Later that month, county administrator Gary Kubic called on Logan to resign and the Beaufort County Council passed a resolution asking Logan to do the same. In June, an independent, largely critical audit of the Treasurer's Office was released to the public.
By that time, Henderson already was collecting the signatures he needed to appear on the Nov. 2 general election ballot as a petition candidate. He became Logan's first election opponent since the 1991 Republican primary, and the first candidate she has ever faced in a general election.
Henderson said no candidate should ever be allowed unopposed for so many years.
"That just shouldn't be," Henderson said. "The voters in this county deserve to have a choice in every election we have."
2nd CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
The forum also featured all three of the candidates vying to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson and represent South Carolina's 2nd Congressional District, which includes Beaufort County.
Marc Beaman, who is running as an Independent, said he was in the race to take back government for the residents of the 10-county district.
"Government is not the answer," Beaman said. "We know it's the problem. You and I can solve the problems, and the government cannot. Together we can unite and take back our country."
Forum attendees heard a similar message from Eddie McCain, who is running as a Libertarian.
"I just don't like where the Republican and Democratic parties are going," McCain said. "I know that third-party candidates historically receive 3 to 5 percent of the vote, but if there was ever a time that a third-party candidate had a legitimate chance of winning, it's now."
Wilson did not attend Thursday's forum, but that didn't stop Rob Miller, the race's Democratic candidate, from taking the Republican incumbent to task.
"It's a real shame that Congressman Wilson could not spare an hour of his evening to be here tonight," Miller said. "I firmly believe that to change Washington, D.C., you have to change the people you send there."