CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - In a small room in the back of Maurice Washington's Wagner Terrace home, his campaign team meets.
The six volunteers are seated around a fold-up table, ironing out last-minute events and strategies.
"We've done a lot, we have a lot to do. It looks like we're going to have good weather ," campaign chairman Henry Fishburne said.
Just 14 days from election day, the team has maintained their calm, cool and collected attitude.
While they work upstairs, their leader is working quietly below. Washington spends his morning personally phoning volunteers, constituents and potential donors. On this morning, he changes his normal routine and quickly ventures up the staircase to talk with his campaign team."You guys have really been phenomenal and I really appreciate it," Washington said.
He's thankful for the team that was assembled weeks after other candidates announced their bid for Charleston's mayoral race. Some believe that Washington entered the race too late, becoming the sixth candidate in an already crowded field.
"I spent the first eight months just moving across the city, talking to people about chances, about opportunity, about support," Washington said on his decision run. "When we felt the timing was right, we then entered the race."
While his official entry into the race was delayed, he says there was little hesitation on whether he can get the job done. "I care about the future of our city. We have done an amazing job building a Charleston that people from all over the world want to come and visit. Now is the time to focus on residents who live here permanently," he said.
Washington is a product of the Gadsden Green housing complex on the city's west side. The dump across the street from his former home was a playground for him and his nine siblings. He still remembers finding his first drum set, among the rubbage.
He's the son of a single mother who raised 10 children on her own. He says overcoming the projects and immense poverty has taught him to become a better manager. Although his beloved mother died in 1995, her life lessons like never be the victim, trust in the Lord and lead from the bottom up are with him today.
"What I've learned from her over the years is that you don't need a whole lot of money to make things work and to bring things together," Washington said. "We've taken the little that we have raised for this campaign and we have tried to make a bigger splash."
After graduating from Burke high school, he attended South Carolina State University. It was there when he got his first taste of politics, winning a position on student government and receiving a 500 dollar stipend each month. According to his campaign website, Washington was elected to the Charleston City Council in 1991 and served until 1999.
In this capacity, Washington served as chair of the ways and means and Community Development Committees. In 1992, Washington was appointed Mayor Pro-Term of the City of Charleston. In 2002, Washington was appointed to Governor Mark Sanford's transition team, assisting with numerous board and commission appointments.
The leader, who says he is a "bottom up" not top down leader, believes Charleston's best days are ahead. A city where traffic is better managed, drainage is near perfect and all of the little learners in low country are getting the proper education.