‘Pig’ Jones drops out of Port Wentworth mayor’s race

Says ‘upskirt’ photo not an issue

Port Wentworth mayor Glenn “Pig” Jones announced Tuesday that he’s withdrawn from the city’s upcoming mayoral race.

 

Jones qualified in August for what would have been his fourth term.

“My heart just isn’t in it,” Jones said.

Jones withdrew officially on Wednesday afternoon when he filed a notarized statement with the town’s city clerk.

Chatham County Elections Superintendent Russell Bridges said signs will be placed at polling stations to alert voters to the withdrawal. The remaining two candidates for the mayor’s office are former Port Wentworth councilmen Tim Holbrook and Gary Norton.

The news was a bit of a surprise for at least some city staff.

Jones did not inform City Administrator Phillip Claxton of his decision.

“I learned it from the news,” Claxton said.

Jones said he struggled with the decision to run for a fourth term.

“After consulting with friends and being urged to by many others I made the decision to qualify,” Jones wrote in a press release. “I was never at ease with my decision and I know now this is the right thing to do for me and my family.”

Jones said he has not campaigned for the seat this year.

“You can drive through Port Wentworth and you won’t see a single sign with my name on it,” Jones said. “I also never raised any (campaign) money.”

Jones said new responsibilities at work and lack of time with his family led to his decision.

“I have to do what’s best for me and my wife,” Jones said.

Jones’ decision marks the end of what at times has been an embattled post.

Jones faced criticism from council members and the public last year when an “upskirt” photo of councilmember Debbie Johnson appeared online. Jones publicly apologized for not informing Johnson of the 2015 photo despite having seen it. He also was part of a group that circulated the picture. Jones at first also refused to tell investigators with the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs Unit who had taken the photo.

Johnson filed a racial discrimination and sexual harassment complaint against the city last year following the July 2016 Facebook posting of the photo by Port Wentworth resident Eric Steely. Steely had been sent the photo by Ernie Stanhope, who took the photo at City Hall while he was serving on the council.

Investigators followed the district attorney’s advice, who had determined that since Johnson was wearing underwear no prosecution was possible under existing Georgia law at the time.

Jones said the “upskirt” photo has nothing to do with him leaving the mayor’s election.

“That’s the least of my issues,” Jones said.

Councilman Paul Fox said Jones made the right decision — whatever his reason.

“I think he is doing the right thing,” Fox said. “He’s been getting beat up by people (about the upskirt photo issue). I know it’s been an embarrassment to him.”

Jones may be in for some more embarrassment as Johnson filed suit in July this year against Jones, Holbrook, councilman Bill Herrin, Stanhope, Steely, councilman Judson Bowers and council member Barbara Powers.

The complaint filed in State Court seeks damages for several causes of action, including defamation, invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional pain.

Other Port Wentworth posts up for election are the District 1 seat, held by Powers, the District 3 seat held by Johnson, and three candidates for the council-at-large post.

Powers is facing an opponent, Sharilyn Dyal. Johnson also has a challenger in Lynwood Gray Riner. Candidates for the council-at-large seat, currently held by Bowers who is not seeking re-election, are Rufus Bright Jr., Maurice Rahn and Linda Smith. Jerry Green withdrew from the council-at-large candidacy on Sept. 14.

The election will be held on Nov. 7.

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