About 200 conservative voters came out to Burnsville Baptist Church on Reidville Road Thursday evening to hear from several Greenville and Spartanburg County Council candidates. A few Republican candidates for various statewide races also spoke.
Greenville District 17 incumbent Joe Dill, District 19 candidate Benton Blount, District 23 candidate Ben Carper and District 26 candidate Rick Bradley shared the platform with Spartanburg candidates Louis Nespeca (District 5), Jeff Horton (District 5), Jack Mabry (District 2), Jessica Coker (District 6) and Alex Turner (District 6).
Mark Lynch, owner of Jeff Lynch Appliances, moderated the forum. The majority of the time was spent questioning the nine county council candidates.
Lynch's questions dealt with the Constitution, mask and vaccine mandates, the definition of 'democracy' in contrast to the definition of 'republic,' and Second Amendment sanctuary cities.
The candidates first answered the question, “Have you read the Constitution and would you take a class in the Constitution?” In attendance was Evan Mulch, a local coordinator for the John Birch Society, who holds classes on the Constitution.
Several candidates said that they either learned about the Constitution in school or would be willing to take a class. Some said that they had a copy with them in their cars. Mabry lamented that today's schoolchildren are not taught the document.
All of the candidates expressed disapproval of mask, vaccine and vaccine smart card mandates. Carper and Blount said that they have been kicked off of social media because of posts they have made on the subject. Dill criticized “spineless politicians” for letting the bureaucrats go “hog wild.”
Several of the candidates gave oblique answers to the question of the definitions of 'democracy' and 'republic.' Carper gave the most precise answer - “We are a representative republic with a democratic system of electing our representatives.” He added, “A democracy in its purest form is mob rule.”
Lynch then spent a couple of minutes reading from a John Birch Society resource called, 'The Constitution is the Solution' to further define these terms.
After the county council portion of the forum concluded, candidates for statewide offices spoke briefly – Harrison Musselwhite, who is challenging current Governor Henry McMaster, Lauren Martel, who wants to defeat incumbent Attorney General Alan Wilson, and Keith Blandford, who is challenging current Secretary of State Mark Hammond.
At the conclusion of the meeting the crowd heard from the mother of George Abuzeid, who is running for the 4th Congressional seat currently held by William Timmons, who was not present at the forum, and fellow candidate Pastor Mark Burns.
The primary election will be held Tuesday, June 14.