State Sen. Linda Short endorsed Creighton Coleman this week in the race for the post she's held for 16 years.
But Leah Moody, who will face Coleman in a runoff Tuesday, wonders why Short told her she wouldn't publicly support a candidate.
"She said she was going to stay out of it," Moody said. "I'm not mad. I just find it ironic that she changed her mind."
Short, D-Chester, said she told Moody early in the primary season she wouldn't endorse any of the candidates vying for the seat she'll leave when her term expires at the end of the year. Then, Coleman and Moody bested Ridgeway's Michael Squirewell in last week's District 17 Democratic primary, forcing a runoff.
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"I didn't say anything about anything subsequent to that," Short said. "I didn't tell her anything that wasn't true. I didn't endorse anybody during the primary."
But Moody said Short never gave her a timeline and told her as late as last month she wasn't endorsing a candidate.
"She's splitting hairs now," Moody said. "She said she wasn't getting involved at all. ... I'm not saying that she lied to me, but I will tell you that there's no difference whether it is the primary or the runoff."
When asked why she waited until after the primary to make an endorsement, Short didn't have an answer.
Short said she likes Moody but worries about her living in Rock Hill. District 17 includes all of Chester and Fairfield counties and parts of York and Union counties. Coleman lives in Winnsboro.
"There's a big difference in the needs of a fast-growing metropolitan area like Rock Hill and the needs of rural areas, which is all the rest of the district," Short said. "We're losing rural representation all across the state, and it's just so important that we maintain that representation."
One of only two women in the Senate, Short said she's concerned about women having a voice in Columbia, but supports Coleman because he understands the importance of rural representation and has more political experience.
Coleman has served in the state House of Representatives for eight years. Moody has never held an elected office.
Moody, however, contends her residence isn't relevant.
"What difference does it matter where you live in the district, so long as you work for that district?" Moody asked.
Along with Short's endorsement, Coleman also picked up Squirewell's support this week.
Squirewell said Moody didn't run a clean campaign.
"There were some tactics used that I didn't necessarily agree with," he said, although he wouldn't elaborate.
"I'm endorsing Coleman," Squirewell said. "We're on the same page in terms of what it's going to take to move the district forward."
Moody said Squirewell is upset because she confronted him after people called her claiming they'd seen him pull up her campaign signs.
"I find it very hypocritical of him to say that he's going to support Creighton after he's talked about change, new leadership," she said.
Squirewell denies moving the signs. He said Moody's tactics weren't just allegations of pulling signs -- although he didn't like those -- but he wouldn't specify what bothered him.
"I'm not about getting into bickering back and forth," he said. "I'm refraining from the mud-slinging stuff. I've never engaged in that. I don't believe in it."
Moody also said she doesn't want to become embroiled in a negative campaign.
"I'm not going to get into going back and forth over what they have to say," she said. "The people will vote, and the people will decide what they want."
As for Coleman, he said he just hopes the endorsements help his campaign.
The winner of Tuesday's primary runoff will face Republican Mark Bennett in November's general election.
State senators serve four-year terms and are paid $10,400 annually, plus $1,000 per month for expenses such as gasoline and office supplies.