The Buzz

The Buzz: Conservation group hopes to produce green for Sheheen

abeam@thestate.comFebruary 22, 2014 

Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw,

TRACY GLANTZ — tglantz@thestate.com Buy Photo

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    The Buzz is a weekly look back at state politics by reporters at The Columbia State.

— A conservation group hopes to make a lot of green for Vincent Sheheen, the Democratic candidate for governor.

The Conservation Voters of South Carolina officially endorsed Sheheen last week, the earliest it ever has endorsed a candidate, according to its executive director. Its endorsement came with more than just a news release. It came with a promise to raise money.

The group plans to launch its own version of GiveGreen, the online fundraising tool used by the League of Conservation Voters. The group hopes to build off of the success of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, which raised $1.9 million for the Democratic candidate for governor of that state, Terry McAuliffe, who went on to win a close race over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

“It’s a lot of money for Virginia,” said Emily Francis, interim executive director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. “That’s actually the most that we have ever raised for elections.”

Don’t expect South Carolina’s version of GiveGreen to set fundraising records. In Virginia, donors can give unlimited amounts to candidates. In South Carolina, donors are limited to $3,500 per candidate per election.

But Ann Timberlake, director of the Conservation Voters of South Carolina, is more concerned with the message than the amount.

“Lots of people are just not comfortable giving to the candidate (directly),” Timberlake said. “They want the candidate to know it is because they are committed to conservation that they are giving. They want their money to have that power.”

Sheheen will need a lot of power to catch up with Republican Gov. Nikki Haley’s fundraising efforts.

Haley, a former Lexington state representative who started raising money for re-election in Year 1 of her term, has raised $5 million for her 2014 re-election effort. State Sen. Sheheen of Camden – who started raising money last year – has raised $1.6 million.

Michigan Republican responds to Haley

Gov. Nikki Haley’s comments that she would not welcome Ford, GM and Chrysler and their union workers in South Carolina have caused a stir in the country’s automotive capital.

Speaking at an automotive conference in Greenville, Haley told The Greenville News, “We discourage any companies that have unions from wanting to come to South Carolina because we don’t want to take the water.”

The Detroit Free Press posted comments from readers, some of whom said they would no longer vacation in the state and some of whom supported Haley’s anti-union stance.

The GOP speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives responded Friday to fellow Republican Haley’s comments.

“If South Carolina wants to be the first to secede again, we’ll take their jobs,” Jase Bolger said, according to the Detroit Free Press.

S.C. GOP blasts Sheheen for missed vote

State senators killed a bill last week that would have let South Carolinians carry a gun without a concealed weapons permit – but state Sen. Sheheen, the Democratic candidate for governor, missed the vote.

Republican Gov. Haley previously had said she supports the “constitutional carry” bill. But multiple attempts to reach Sheheen’s campaign to get his opinion were unsuccessful – something that pleased Republicans.

“He wants to hide his liberal record,” S.C. GOP chairman Matt Moore wrote in a news release, titled “Vanishing Vince.”

The Republicans say Sheheen missed nearly 25 percent of the state Senate’s votes in 2011 and 2012.

Of course, former House member Haley had her own problems with attendance during her 2010 campaign for governor. Haley missed every Education Committee meeting during the 2009 legislative session and more than half of the roll call votes in the House.

Moore, of course, failed to note that.

Buzz bites

•  S.C. Rep. Bill Sandifer, an Oconee Republican who chairs the Labor, Commerce and Industry committee, will seek an 11th term in the House this year.

•  State Sen. Glenn Reese, D-Spartanburg, the owner of a Krispy Kreme franchise, was late to a committee meeting Friday because he had to oversee the making of 2,000 dozen doughnuts. “Business is good,” he declared. So good, he expects the state to see an extra $100 million in tax revenue.

•  USC celebrated president Harris Pastides’ 60th birthday on Friday with a cake depicting Cocky smashing a Clemson Tiger into the icing.

•  Add one more snow cancelation to the pile from last week: Haley’s Houston fundraiser. In addition to the check-gathering event, the Republican governor was scheduled to speak at the India House Gala in a Houston suburb. Both were canceled so she could stay in South Carolina and monitor the storm damage.

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