SC politics: Sheheen criticizes Haley over Ravenel Bridge closing

February 4, 2014 

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in Chalreston was closed last week after a snow storm.

THE GREENVILLE NEWS — File photograph/

Sheheen criticizes Haley over Ravenel Bridge closing

Gov. Nikki Haley has her own bridge problem, according to state Sen. Vincent Sheheen. The Democratic candidate for governor criticized Republican Haley on Tuesday for not going to Charleston during last week’s snow storm, which forced the closure of the Ravenel Bridge, causing traffic jams.

“Gov. Haley would not go to Charleston when the Ravenel Bridge was icing up,” Sheheen told reporters Tuesday. “But she shows up the next week (in Charleston) to talk about political stuff. ... She and the (Department of Transportation) director should have been there. That’s what leadership is, and that’s what we haven’t seen.”

The Ravenel Bridge, which connects Charleston and Mount Pleasant, was closed for nearly 44 hours because of ice. Transportation officials say the bridge cannot be treated with salt like other bridges because its surface – a latex-concrete overlay – only can be treated with a brine mix, which washed away in the rain.

“In truth, South Carolina had far fewer complications from the storm than other Southeastern states and today’s rant is just further proof that there is no set of facts that Vince Sheheen won’t try and distort to get himself elected,” Haley campaign spokesman Rob Godfrey said.

Report: Bowers to challenge Graham

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, is about to get another Republican primary challenger – Columbia pastor Det Bowers, CNN reported.

Bowers said he will join four other GOP challengers trying to unseat Graham.

CNN reported Bowers has filed fundraising paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and met with donors in Washington and Texas last month.

Hodges endorses Anthony in education race

Former S.C. Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges endorsed state Rep. Mike Anthony for state schools’ chief Tuesday.

“Mike Anthony has spent his life dedicated to public schools – as a classroom teacher and state champion football coach,” Hodges said in a news release issued by Anthony’s campaign. “He’s the kind of person our public schools need – a proven leader with a track record of success in our schools.”

Anthony, a retired public school teacher and football coach, is one of two Democrats who have announced bids for their party’s nomination for state superintendent of education.

MUSC boss worries about proposed merger

The interim president of the Medical University of South Carolina told state lawmakers Tuesday he is concerned about a potential merger of that school with the College of Charleston.

“I have a concern about the identity of MUSC,” interim president Mark Sothmann told a House budget subcommittee. “But I think there are ways we can come together and get done what we need to get done, in terms of delivering advanced degrees to the business community, while at the same time not destroying the identities of two institutions that have real strong brand names.”

Sothmann also said questions about the merger are impacting MUSC’s search for a new president.

“The first question (applicants) ask is: ‘What’s going to happen with the merger? Who am I reporting to?’” he said. “‘Am I going to be dealing with the Affordable Care Act, something revolutionary for every academic health center in the country? Or am I going to be dealing with the merger?’”

Staff writers Adam Beam

and Jamie Self

contributed

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