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Clay Middleton Draws Over 100 Supporters as He Officially Kicks Off his Bid For Mayor of Charleston



Press Release

On Monday, Clay Middleton – a native Charlestonian from Bayside Manor, Army combat veteran, public servant, husband, and father of two – kicked off his bid for Mayor of Charleston, after announcing his candidacy last May, drawing a diverse crowd of over one hundred supporters, friends, and family that reflects the city of Charleston.

Ginny Deerin, a 30-year advisor to Mayor Joe Riley, introduced Clay at the event saying: “[Clay] has broad and deep relationships with political and government leaders – local, state and federal. He has a really deep and broad grasp of what is good development and what is bad development. I believe it is high time for us baby boomers to move aside and let the next generation of leaders take the lead. And that next generation of leaders – is my friend – Clay Middleton. He is the guy – for our city – for this moment – and it’s up to us to come together and ensure he wins.”

During his kick-off, Middleton, a graduate of Burke High School and The Citadel is a Lieutenant Colonel in the SC Army National Guard, served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he earned the Bronze Star, drew a sharp contrast in leadership styles with the current administration: “We have a saying in the Army – we do more by 9 AM than most people do all day. That’s the kind of Mayor I’ll be – putting in the relentless work, sweating the small stuff to improve city services, creating and sustaining public/private partnerships to tackle systemic problems, and being the bold servant leader we need to move our city forward together.”

Middleton said, “We are the sum of our experiences. Serving in the military for 23 years, working at the local, state, and federal levels of government, and being a product of Charleston has taught me a lot about the importance of leadership and having a shared vision. When I look around my hometown, I see a city in desperate need of that,” said Middleton. “I see a city facing crisis after crisis and missing out on opportunities – from flooding to traffic to folks not being able to afford to live near their work to delays in basic city services – those crises and missed opportunities stem from one thing: a lack of bold servant leadership in City Hall. We can change that. I’m running to solve problems, create opportunities, and represent a new brick in an old foundation. We cannot afford poor vision to hinder our ability to truly aspire to do greater things  for you, your family, and our collective community. ”

A dedicated public servant, Clay was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the associate and then acting director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Corporation for National and Community Service; he also served at the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

In 2017, Clay became the Director of Business Services for the city of Charleston, where he led the Business & Neighborhood Services division. He is currently a Managing Director at Mercury Public Affairs, a global public strategic affairs firm.

Clay served as a longtime aide to Congressman Jim Clyburn, and previously the late former Senator Fritz Hollings, and former SC Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum. He also worked on the Biden-Harris Transition Team, for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Senator Cory Booker.

“I serve, in and out of uniform, because I understand that too much is given, much is required and I want my two sons to see public service in action rather than read about it,” said Middleton.

“For me, this is personal. This is about creating a city that works for everyone. This is about making sure all of our kids can see themselves thriving here at home, that our unique communities can continue to call Charleston home, and that we challenge assumptions in order to make better decisions for a stronger and better future.

We can’t do that without the right leadership that leaves no resident, no community, no neighborhood behind; that’s why I’m running, and that’s what I’ll do as mayor.”

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