INDIAN LAND, S.C. — There’s a neighborhood in South Carolina that has become popular with candidates with aspirations for higher office.
But neighbors tell Channel 9 that the homeowner’s association is now banning candidates from stumping in the community.
The Sun City community has hosted dozens of political candidates over the years, and for good reason.
“They come here because we have two voting precincts in Sun City, and they’re the most active in South Carolina,” said Melvin Threatt, a neighbor who lives in Sun City, which is just south of Indian Land.
Threatt has lived here for 15 years, and he’s seen many political candidates stop by to address neighbors.
“It gives the people in Sun City a chance to ask them questions,” Threatt told Channel 9′s Tina Terry.
He says the community’s Republican club recently invited presidential candidate Nikki Haley to speak there, but leaders in the HOA told the club that candidates are no longer allowed to spread their message.
“I believe we still have free speech in this country; we are still a democracy, as I understand it,” Threatt said.
Neighbors say they’ve collected hundreds of signatures from Republicans and some Democrats in the community who disagree with the decision.
“They’re violating our civil rights and right of assembly,” said Michael Jacobs, a neighbor in Sun City.
The neighbors say they’re planning to present those signatures to HOA members with the hope of a change.
“Quite frankly, we’re always hoping the board will back off and say this is a bad idea,” Jacobs said.
Terry stopped by Sun City asking to speak with HOA members about the issue on Tuesday.
The HOA later sent a statement just before the newscast, saying: “We are a private community with insufficient resources to host declared candidates in an equitable fashion. We do not want to include some and exclude others. Communications to the Board are running approximately 10 to 1 in support of the Board.”
The leader of the Democratic club told Terry that her club has chosen to not take an official stance on this issue.
South Carolina’s presidential primaries are on Feb. 3 for the Democratic Party and Feb. 24 for the Republican Party.
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