A Republican Sheriff nominee took a unique approach to announce his campaign.
Craig Stivender is running for sheriff of Colleton County in South Carolina and divulged a few truths about himself that “opponents may try to use to tarnish” his integrity.
Among his truths were getting a ticket for not having his driver’s license in his possession when he was 16, being divorced and remarried, fender benders that were his fault, losing his temper at work and being reprimanded for it, and wearing blackface during a Halloween party.
“About 10 years ago as a young police officer I attended a law enforcement Halloween party dressed as ruthless drug kingpin Big 'Meech' Flenory,” Stivender said in his campaign announcement video posted on Facebook.
“I did it to disparage a criminal whose actions hurt our community and country,” he continued.
Black residents make up 38 percent of the population in Colleton County, according to the World Population Review.
“That was a different time. Today, we understand that type of costume is troubling to many,” Stivender added. “To those who may be upset, I understand your disappointment but I value honesty so I’m opening up my campaign with transparency. That’s why you can always count on me to tell you the truth. That’s the cornerstone of trust.”
In the video, Stivender, who said law enforcement has been his passion since he was born, also said that his family has been in the County for over 200 years.
“My dad taught me how to hunt and fish in these woods and how to responsibly use a gun,” he said.
Just before the blackface photo appeared on the screen, Stivender said, “I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes and I wish I could change a thing or two. But that’s part of life …”
He added, “That’s why I want to tell you at the start of my campaign, some things that politicians would try to hide,” as the video shows him shaking a Black man’s hand.
Stivender has had a lengthy career in the county, first as a police officer, then a deputy with the sheriff's department, and finally police captain with dual firefighter certification.
“It’s important that we have a sheriff that we can trust and that starts with being open and honest with you the voters,” he said in the video.
Stivender then laid out his campaign promises which include reducing crime, controlling littering, and working alongside Trump “to create a safer Colleton County that combats the threat of illegal immigrants, drugs, and gangs.”
“You can count on me to defend your constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” he concluded. “You can count on me to fairly enforce the law.”