SC politics: GOP candidates for schools’ chief to be in Winnsboro

03/17/2014 9:05 PM

03/17/2014 9:06 PM

GOP candidates for schools’ chief to be in Winnsboro

Republicans vying for S.C. superintendent of education will take part in a candidate forum in Winnsboro on Wednesday, an event hosted by the Fairfield County Republican Party.

The forum starts at 6:30 p.m. at Christ Central Community Center, 235 S. Congress St. Audience members will be able to ask candidates questions.

Candidates who have confirmed they will attend are: Gary Burgess, Anderson County Board of Education member; Meka Childs, a former Department of Education deputy superintendent; Lexington attorney Amy Cofield; GOP activist Sheri Few of Lugoff; University of South Carolina professor Don Jordan; Charleston County school board member Elizabeth Moffly; and Molly Spearman, director of the S.C. Association of School Administrators.

Sally Atwater will not be able to attend due to a previous engagement.

S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais, a Republican in his first term, is not seeking re-election.

One Democrat, Montrio Belton of Fort Mill, also is running.

Superintendent candidate to get fundraising boost from well-connected Republicans

Former S.C. GOP chairman Katon Dawson is co-hosting a fundraiser at his house Thursday for Meka Childs in the crowded race for the Republican nomination for state schools’ chief.

Other co-hosts are S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais, who is not seeking re-election, and former S.C. Commerce Secretary Joe Taylor. Recommended contributions range from $1,000 to $3,500, according to an event fundraiser.

The support from well-connected Republicans could come in handy. Childs is one of eight GOP candidates and one Democrat who have said they are running for the seat.

Dawson said he hopes to raise a lot of money for Childs. Dawson said he was good friends with Childs’ father. Dawson said Childs’ experience – growing up in South Carolina, attending public schools, working in education policy under then-Gov. Mark Sanford and, most recently, as a deputy superintendent under Zais – would benefit her as the state’s education superintendent.

Dawson also runs the West Main Street Values PAC, whose focus is to help U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca, get re-elected.

Graham ad touts foreign policy chops in ‘dangerous world’

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham touts his foreign policy chops in his newest radio and television ads warning of a “dangerous world.”

The six-figure ad buy aired statewide starting last weekend, during college basketball tournaments. The 30-second television and one-minute radio ad are Graham’s third round of statewide ad buys in his re-election campaign.

The ads feature dark, orchestral music, warn of “peril” and danger abroad in the “struggle against radical Islam.” They also tout Graham as an opponent of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

Seven GOP challengers have announced plans to run against Graham, including: Columbia pastor Det Bowers; state Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg; Easley businessman Richard Cash; Orangeburg attorney and Afghanistan war veteran Bill Connor; Columbia attorney Benjamin Dunn; Spartanburg cop Dave Feliciano; and Charleston PR executive Nancy Mace.

Harrell-Wilson hearing set for this week

A hearing on House Speaker Bobby Harrell’s request to have Attorney General Alan Wilson removed as prosecutor in his grand jury investigation is expected to take place later this week in Columbia.

The time and place of the proceeding has not been formally released by court officials, but an attorney for the S.C. Press Association is expected to pursue efforts Tuesday to ensure the hearing be held in open court and with media access.

Jay Bender, who represents newspapers in the state, contends the dispute – between Harrell’s legal team and Wilson’s office over conduct – is separate from the actual grand jury investigation that Wilson is leading and focusing on Harrell, R-Charleston.

Harrell’s lawyers want Wilson replaced and are seeking a hearing with Judge Robert Hood of Columbia.

The probe into Harrell’s conduct dates back almost a year. It centers on allegations Harrell misused his campaign account and legislative office for personal gain.

Harrell has called the complaint “a baseless attack that is driven by personal and political vendetta.” He has said he cooperated with state investigators during the time.

Primary filings in Richland, Lexington counties

Following are filings Sunday and Monday filings for the June 10 primary election. Filing ends March 30. All filings will be updated throughout the filing period at


• County Council District 8: Bill Banning* (R), Billy Oswald (R)
• County Council District 9: Todd Cullum* (R)
• S.C. House 85: Chip Huggins* (R)
• S.C. House 87: Todd Atwater* (R)
• S.C. House 88: Mac Toole* (R)

S.C. House 89: Kenny Bingham* (R)

S.C. House 96: Perry Finch (R), Kit Spires* (R)


• County Council District 4: Paul Livingston* (D)
• County Council District 5: Seth Rose* (D)
• S.C. House 78: Beth Bernstein* (D)

* Denotes incumbent

Governor’s schedule and activities

Gov. Nikki Haley’s public schedule for the remainder of this week, announced Monday by her office, is:

Tuesday, 10 a.m.: Address the S.C. Specialty Foods Association’s annual membership meeting, West Columbia

Wednesday, 7:30 a.m.: Take part in the 54th annual S.C. State Prayer Breakfast, Columbia

Thursday, 9:30 a.m.: Join the S.C. Power Team for its Economic Development Review Conference, Hilton Head Island

According to her staff, the governor’s activities last week included:

6 – Economic development calls or meetings

4 – Ceremonial duties, awarding the Order of the Palmetto to Marco Cavazzoni of the state Department of Commerce; also, meeting with Sumter teachers at the State House; also, a tour Pawmetto Lifeline in Columbia; and a Cabinet employee appreciation luncheon.

3 – Meetings concerning unidentified state agencies

2 – Speeches, to the Greenwood Rotary and the annual conference of the National Guard Association of South Carolina, Hilton Head Island

1 each – Meeting with constituents, in Greenwood; press conference, at the State House; legislative meeting; meeting with an elected official, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley; meeting concerning state policy; staff meeting

Busiest days – Wednesday and Thursday, with seven activities each

Slowest day – Monday, with one activity

Of note – Haley addressed the Guard Association on Saturday

Jamie Self, Staff Reports and The (Charleston) Post and Courier

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