BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Phrases like malicious garbage and false insinuations have tainted the Biloxi mayor's race. Because of the mudslinging allegations, any chance voters might have to see Biloxi's two mayoral finalists on the same stage, or at the same event appear to be over.
The basis of the mudslinging comes from social media. Fofo Gilich supporters point to a post that appeared on a social media platform in the last several hours. That post tried to link Gilich to the book Mississippi Mud, and the infamous Sherry murders.
So you understand, Gilich's uncle Mike Gillich served jail time because of that case.
The mayoral candidate's name was never part of any investigation.
About three hours ago, Fofo Gilich released a statement. In that statement, Gilich said he would not appear in public with a candidate who lets supporters "spread such malicious garbage in hopes of influencing an election."
He said because of the personal attacks and false insinuations, "it would be impossible to expect a fair exchange between candidates." Therefore, Gilich wrote he would not appear in public with Windy Swetman.
Swetman says his camp had nothing to do with the post in question.
He told us he's "stayed positive" throughout the campaign, and "nothing negative" has come out of his mouth.
This morning, Swetman used Facebook to remind his supporters he doesn't condone negative campaigning. Swetman wrote, "Let's win this race talking about 'Our' plan and Vision for Biloxi. Keep working hard and stay positive."
A statement late this afternoon from Swetman says, "During the special election, my family and I were attacked frequently on social media and expect to be again. Public service is tough, and Biloxi deserves a mayor with strength to stand strong and the ability to rise above petty politics, as I have done and will continue to do."
WLOX invited both candidates to appear in a debate. By sending this statement, Gilich declined the invitation.
I will continue to visit personally with the residents of Biloxi and promote my ideas and my qualifications. I trust the people to sort through the mudslinging and choose the best person to serve my hometown as its Mayor."
The Biloxi mayoral election to finish A.J. Holloway's term at city hall is May 12.