The race for South Carolina State Superintendent of Education has gotten pissy, primarily because of the campaign manager for one of the candidates.
J. W. Ragley, Dr. Mick Zais’ spokesperson/campaign manager/attack dog has made it his mission to smear one of Zais’ opponents, Dutch Fork High School teacher Kelly Payne. Attacks are something one might expect in a political campaign, but Zais/Ragley have gotten a bit creepy in their … ummmm …pursuits of Ms. Payne.
Ragley can often be seen filming Payne at campaign events, even those Dr. Zais doesn’t attend. An example is the recent Myrtle Beach Tea Party meeting, at which Ms. Payne was endorsed. One of their members asked Ragley why he was filming it and he replied that every campaign videos their opponents. However, Zais’ is the only one of all of the statewide the SoE campaigns for any office known to video opponents and he only videos Kelly. [Pause for a thought: What DOES he do with those videos?]
Following the May 1st Berkeley GOP Breakfast, Ragley sent the following “tweet” on Twitter:
First sign destroyed. This sign happens to be by Dutch Fork High School. Guess when you’re desperate, you’ll destroy someone else’s sign. 11:59 AM May 1st via UberTwitter
No one from the Payne campaign was in the Dutch Fork area. A minor detail, I know. But, I guess when you’re desperate, you’ll make any thing up.
On another occasion, upon leaving for Dutch Fork High after attending an early morning fundraiser in downtown Columbia, Ms. Payne noticed Ragley following her car all the way to school.
As I said, CREEPY.
Among Ragley’s “tweets,” I like this one the best:
Just saw a raccoon crawl into a sewer on Duncan Street. 9:59 PM Apr 28th via UberTwitter
J.W.: If you don’t feed ’em, you won’t have to worry about them coming into your living room.
Ragley’s sewer residency is what is to be concerned about. If this is the type of person running this type of campaign for Dr. Zais, then his potential administration as Superintendent would be a great worry. Are these dung-tossing tactics what should be expected if he’s elected? Will those who disagree with him have to look over their shoulders to see if they’re being (metaphorically) followed? Can they expect to be lied about for not toeing the Zais line? Will shortfalls or failures be automatically blamed on someone else as responsibility is shifted to innocent parties to protect the Superintendent?
Campaigns are intense, passion-fueled adventures. Things happen, things are said and things get out of hand. But the consistency of the tactics engaged can be revealing about the character of the candidate and insight into his/her practices.
Dr. Zais is known for treating his subordinates poorly. If he is elected, EVERY school administrator, staffer and teacher will be his subordinate. And, since accusations seem to come so easily, Heaven protect any student or parent that disagrees with SoE policies.
Zais/Ragley have provided an education on what might be expected if successful in being elected.