Politics & Government

April 22, 2014

S.C. politics: Gingrich endorses Lee Atwater’s widow for superintendent of education

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, winner of the 2012 S.C. Republican presidential primary, has endorsed Republican Sally Atwater for state superintendent of education, her campaign said Tuesday.

Gingrich endorses Lee Atwater’s widow

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, winner of the 2012 S.C. Republican presidential primary, has endorsed Republican Sally Atwater for state superintendent of education, her campaign said Tuesday.

Gingrich and Atwater have been friends for three decades. Atwater’s late husband, famed S.C.-bred political consultant Lee Atwater, worked with Gingrich to help Republicans win a majority in the U.S. House in the 1990s. Sally Atwater also endorsed Gingrich’s presidential bid in 2012.

“Sally has over a decade of experience inside the classroom teaching special-needs students in South Carolina,” Gingrich said in a statement. “She also has years of experience working on education policy and helping intellectually challenged individuals succeed. ... Sally is a true conservative leader for South Carolina and, like most conservatives, Sally is opposed to Common Core.”

Atwater is one of eight Republicans vying to succeed Republican Mick Zais as education superintendent. Zais is not seeking re-election.

Upstate senator endorses Childs for superintendent

Republican state Sen. Kevin Bryant has endorsed Meka Childs in the GOP race for state superintendent of education.

“Meka, years before the outrage we see now, voted against the adoption of the Common Core standards while she served on the Education Oversight Committee in 2010,” the Anderson senator said in a press release. “She knew then and she knows now that education is an issue best addressed by parents, teachers and local leadership, not bureaucrats in Washington. Her dedication to ensuring South Carolina standards for South Carolina students is unquestionable.”

Childs, a former public school teacher and deputy superintendent at the state Education Department, has been endorsed by outgoing Superintendent Mick Zais.

Two groups endorse Connor for Senate

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Bill Connor has received endorsements from two conservative groups in his GOP primary bid against incumbent U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The Conservatives for Responsible Government of South Carolina and the Association of Black Conservatives have endorsed Connor, an Orangeburg attorney and Afghanistan war veteran. Connor is one of six Republicans hoping to beat Graham in June’s primary.

“Bill has been fighting for our national interests in the Middle East and now wants to carry on that fight to defend our Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, to Washington, D.C.,” Bren Gibson, president of Responsible Government, said in a video. “We need more senators and representatives in Congress who have a military background.”

The Association of Black Conservatives is a Chicago-based grassroots organization, according to its Facebook page. Its founder, Rowena Booker, lives in South Dakota, but has Tea Party ties in South Carolina where she used to live and led the S.C. Black Conservatives.

“This is the man to replace Lindsey Graham,” Booker said of Connor, according to his campaign. “We not only need control of the Senate, but we need to replace moderate Republicans with conservative ones where we can.”

U.S. Chamber endorses Graham’s re-election

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in his re-election bid Tuesday, the Seneca Republican’s second endorsement from a national business group in two days.

“Sen. Lindsey Graham is a true champion for free enterprise,” said Jack Howard, the U.S. Chamber’s senior vice president for congressional and public affairs. “He is a demonstrated leader on issues that will boost economic freedom and job creation in South Carolina and across the country.”

Leaders from the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, which gave Graham its 2013 “Public Servant of the Year” award, attended the Spartanburg news conference announcing the endorsement.

Graham is facing six GOP challengers in the June 10 primary as he tries for a third Senate term.

Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andrew Shain contributed

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