Signs point to heated campaign
by RACHEL DAVIS
Aug 08, 2012 | 3909 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sumiton’s mayoral race took a negative turn a few weeks ago, when local business owner Ralph Shoemaker put up signs serving Mayor Petey Ellis with a “pink slip.” - Photo by: Rachel Davis.
Sumiton’s mayoral race took a negative turn a few weeks ago, when local business owner Ralph Shoemaker put up signs serving Mayor Petey Ellis with a “pink slip.” - Photo by: Rachel Davis.
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SUMITON — While many local municipal races may have ventured into negative campaigning, none has done it so publicly and on such a large scale as Sumiton’s mayoral race.

Signs went up about two weeks ago at East Walker Wrecker Service on Main Street in Sumiton, saying that they were serving Mayor Petey Ellis with his “pink slip” and listing alleged offenses committed by Ellis. Several days later, a political sign urging residents to vote for current council member Ricky “Spider” Thomas for mayor went up.

Despite the proximity of the signs, Thomas disavows any connection with the pink slip signs, saying he planned to put a sign up near the post office, which is across the street from East Walker Wrecker Service.

“I had nothing to do with it,” Thomas said by phone Tuesday afternoon. “I was going to put a sign up at the post office anyway and after those went up, I waited a few days so people wouldn’t think I put those up.”

East Walker Wrecker Service is owned by Ralph Shoemaker, a former council member, who said he put the signs up to let the citizens know what kind of person their mayor is.

“Petey comes from a good family,” Shoemaker said. “I didn’t put anything on that sign that would hurt him or his family. My intention wasn’t to harm Petey or to put Petey down, I just want people to know what kind of person they have in the mayor’s office. We are a small town. We need to help each other, and we all need to get along. If you’re going to be mayor, you need to treat everybody the same, whether you like them or not.”

Ellis said he wasn’t going to address the sign or the allegations.

“I’m just not going to respond to it,” Ellis said. “My record is out there and people who want to challenge that can say anything they want to. When people don’t have a platform, they attack the other person.”

Thomas and Ellis both said Tuesday that they wanted a good, clean contest, and the two have worked to put the city’s interests first and not let campaigning enter into the council chambers while discussing city business.

Municipal elections across the county will be held on Aug. 28.

Ellis and Thomas will also face Dois Cordell in the Sumiton mayoral race.