Blacks Blast Democrat For Publicizing Criminal Record of GOP Black Aide
Oct. 08, 1994
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Black officials denounced the Democratic candidate for governor Friday for publicizing the criminal record of a black aide to his GOP opponent.
On Thursday, John Moylan, campaign manager for Democratic Lt. Gov. Nick Theodore, sent The Associated Press records of Wilma Neal's 1975 conviction of accessory to armed robbery. Neal joined Republican David Beasley's organization this week to help him campaign in black communities.
Neal, who was pardoned in 1987, said: ''My past record has no part in this debate.''
Black leaders said the leak was an attempt to intimidate blacks, traditionally loyal Democrats, from voting for Beasley.
''It's tantamount to the public lashing of a slave and keeping them on the plantation,'' said Kevin Gray, a black activist and president of the South Carolina American Civil Liberties Union.
Gray demanded that Theodore fire Moylan.
Theodore did not return telephone calls Friday seeking comment. Moylan was out of state and unavailable for comment, campaign spokeswoman Mary Eaddy said.
Eaddy said the information on Neal's conviction was public record and was not an attack.
''All voters of all races and sexes are offended by her behavior,'' Eaddy said.
State Rep. Don Beatty, a black Democrat, said the tactic could backfire.
''This kind of thing is only going to make blacks vote against Democrats in a protest vote,'' said Beatty, adding he might vote for Beasley.
Democratic state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, who is also black, said several constituents called her Friday complaining about the action by Theodore's campaign.
''We don't need politics to sink to that kind of level,'' Cobb-Hunter said.