As ‘Early Voting’ got underway Matthew Block, candidate for one of two open Stewartsville Township seats on the County Board of Commissioners, announced his withdrawal from the race, virtually guaranteeing that Democratic incumbent Carol McCall will be reelected and Republican candidate Tim Ivey will be elected.
Since Block’s name remains on the ballot, there is the possibility that voters could still elect him, although Block is recommending followers no longer vote for him.
Block has stated ‘the efforts that he was putting forward weren’t being listened to’, “Ever since [Block’s] effort to have a referendum for consolidation failed, I’ve been thinking about it,” “The wind had been taken out of my sails for the fight.”
Block also appears disappointed with his efforts to dislodge the ‘good ole boy system’ which, according to Block, has helped well-connected local land-owners and sub-contractors to benefit from projects like the new city hall, school consolidation, and recently purchased land by county commissioners.
Block has further stated that “citizens money has been taken from them and given to elected official’s close friends for land and services with sweetheart deals”. “I am confident that with the removal of Tommy Parker, J.D. Willis and now Guy McCook, and with the elections of Mary Evans, James Garby Jr. and Tim Ivey, the back-door dealing will be stopped. Progress will not occur for the next year or two, not until the majority of seats on these Boards are occupied by leaders who are open, honest and not controlled by the good ole boys and selfish desires” Block added.
For now, Block remains Mayor of Laurinburg where he will need to stand before voters in the fall of 2019 should he seek reelection.
While not unprecedented, Block’s action is nevertheless highly unusual and will without question affect voter decisions in the future.
Block has been a breath of fresh air, a lightening rod for the change Laurinburg and Scotland County politics desperately needs, but we believe this last minute withdrawal, piled on top of earlier controversies will cause voters to re-evaluate his suitability for public office, and their willingness to once again step forward to volunteer the hard work that it takes to get a candidate elected.
We cannot walk in Matt Block’s shoes, and while we most certainly sympathize with his political frustrations and the difficult decision he felt he had to make, we must conclude that his last minute, helter skelter withdrawal may have gravely wounded future political ambitions.
We continue to wish Dr. Matthew Block the very best on his journey through life.
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