Dave Jolliff has withdrawn himself as a candidate for Murrells Inlet Magistrate Judge.
According to a letter sent by his attorney, David DuRant, Jolliff informed S.C. Sen. Ray Cleary of his withdrawal on Friday, saying "I refuse to have my character and reputation tarnished as a pawn by those who are using me as a political football."
Cleary nominated Jolliff to fill the position that will be vacated by Judge William Moeller at the end of June due to his reaching the mandatory age of retirement.
Jolliff's nomination has drawn the ire of many in the Murrells Inlet community, especially after a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that Jolliff had been suspended by the Horry County Police Department while employed there.
In the letter Jolliff said he submitted his name to Sen. Cleary for consideration he did so "out of my conviction that I would bring extensive experience to the residents of Murrells Inlet as their new Magistrate."
He said he "never considered the job to be “political” in nature," and that he now "painfully understand(s) what it means to be the victim of the politics of personal destruction. I am also embarrassed and seriously considered that an unhealthy culture of politics, power and favoritism exists in Horry County law enforcement and contributed greatly to this situation."
Tom Swatzel, a former Georgetown County Councilman, and Bill Chandler, the Preserve Murrells Inlet President, were two of the loudest voices against Jolliff's nomination.
Chandler said he was "speechless" at the news that Jolliff had withdrawn his name.
"I’m glad he did it," Chandler said. "There was a mismatch there in most people’s mind here in the inlet. That's the best thing that could have happened."
Swatzel said he "did not expect that."
He said he hopes that Cleary now involves more people in the Murrells Inlet community in the process.
"I think having more people involved in the process would result in a lot more public confidence in whoever is selected for the nomination," Swatzel said. "It’ll be interesting to see where it goes from this point forward."
Cleary and Jolliff have not yet returned calls for comment.
DuRant said as far as he knew Jolliff had "washed his hands of the situation."
DuRant said when opposition was still raised to his nomination even after Cleary had an independent investigation into his background conducted "he realized there wasn’t anything he could do to make those folks happy."
"He just decided it was in everybody’s best interest" to withdraw his name and "get somebody that everybody agrees with," DuRant said.
More details will be posted as they become available.