ELECTION 2014: SC poised to elect first black candidate to statewide office since Reconstruction

Posted by ADAM BEAM on February 16, 2014 

Republicans top line: Sen. Tim Scott, Meka Childs, Gary Burgess Democrats bottom line: Rick Wade, Joyce Dickerson, Montrio Belton, Bakari Sellers

— A record seven African-American candidates are running for statewide office in 2014. Some could be eliminated in June’s primary elections, but it appears at least three black candidates will make it to November’s general election.

South Carolina also is assured to elect its first African-American candidate in a statewide race since Reconstruction in one U.S. Senate race, where all three of the announced candidates are black.

The last time South Carolinians elected an African-American to statewide office was 1872, when Richard Howell Gleaves was elected the state’s second – and last – black lieutenant governor. The black community’s political influence was squashed in 1895 when then-Gov. Ben Tillman rewrote the state’s Constitution – still in place today – to virtually eliminate all black influence in state politics.

Now, 142 years later, that influence appears the be returning – albeit it in small steps.

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