Primary Spotlight: Deford and Moore Face Off to Challenge Mace in November

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Highlighted in the June 11 Democratic Primary election is the struggle to represent the First Congressional District in Congress. Mac Deford of Mount Pleasant and Michael B. Moore of Charleston are in a heated contest to unseat the Republican incumbent in the controversial congressional district. Both candidates possess a plethora of experiences that make them viable candidates for the seat.

While the task to get elected in the strongly Republican-leaning district is daunting, the two Democratic candidates are undaunted in their quest to get their party’s nomination for the Nov. 5 general election. Deford says he should be the Democratic nominee because he can garner bipartisan support in the November election. Moore says his recognition as one of Charleston Business Magazine’s 50 Most Influential, having held leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurial ventures, and non-profits and service as CEO of both Glory Foods and the International African American Museum give him the credentials to hold the office.

Deford also has a diverse background in business in addition to law enforcement, public service and the law. A former U.S. Coast Guardsman, Deford served in Baltimore and Charleston as a federal law enforcement officer and was responsible for enforcing maritime and environmental laws. A graduate of The Citadel and the Charleston School of Law, Deford will earn an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill next month.

Moore has a rich family history rooted in activism and public service. His ancestors include Robert Smalls, a Civil War hero and Reconstruction Congressman; SC lawyer and legislator Samuel Jones Bampfield; and Judge Harold Boulware, who litigated the Briggs v. Elliott case and served on the legal team that won Brown v. Board of Education.

While the two candidates take similar stances on such hot topics as Women’s Reproductive Rights – both think women should make their own decisions in such matters – Deford says in office he will focus on affordable housing, equitable funding for infrastructure to rural minority communities and gun violence. Moore says he will draw a bead on building an economy that works for everyone and fighting to ensure that American families have access to quality and affordable healthcare.

While some surveys project Moore as the favorite to win the nomination, Deford says he thinks his candidacy is an opportunity to usher in a new generation of leaders. At age 35, Deford says his candidacy resonates with young South Carolinians, college Democrats and Republicans who don’t subscribe to the MAGA theory.

Barney Blakeney is a freelance writer based in Charleston who has worked in the field of journalism as a news reporter and columnist since 1977. He has written for local, statewide and national publications. He spent the bulk of his professional career writing for the Charleston Chronicle.

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