The season of political endorsements is here with South Carolina candidates announcing lists of backers daily.
But be wary of those endorsements.
Six of 40 state lawmakers Sen. Vincent Sheheen listed as endorsers of his gubernatorial campaign last week say they are not endorsing him.
At issue is a press conference Sheheen's campaign held March 4 at the State House. Flanked by several Democratic lawmakers, Sheheen spoke of the growing momentum of his candidacy as campaign workers handed out to the media a list of 30 House representatives and 10 senators who were supposedly endorsing the candidate.
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But six of the listed Democrats, including a couple who were standing with Sheheen during the press conference, have since said they aren't in Sheheen's corner.
"I haven't endorsed anybody. I've got my own (re-election) race to concentrate on," said Rep. Anton Gunn, D-Richland, whose name was included on the endorsement list. "I'm not mad (at Sheheen's campaign staff). I know it was an honest mistake."
Gunn said he probably was listed because he stood with Sheheen during the Thursday news conference. He said he was out in the State House lobby, talking to another lawmaker and got swept into the news conference.
Rep. Carl Anderson, D-Georgetown, said he's not sure how he got on the endorsement list but suspects it was because he too stood with Sheheen during the conference.
"I heard (Sheheen was going to make) an announcement so I went out there (into the lobby of the State House) to hear the announcement. That's it," said Anderson, who also said he has not endorsed a candidate.
Trav Roberts, Sheheen's campaign manager, is taking the blame.
"This was an oversight on my part," Roberts said Thursday. "We got very excited that nearly 60 percent of Democrats in the House and Senate were endorsing Vincent. Blame it on an overzealous campaign manager."
Roberts would not discuss how the list was put together. He noted, even with the six Democrats removed from the list, a majority of Democrats at the State House are backing Sheheen.
Most on the list are enthusiastically endorsing the Kershaw County Democrat who also garnered an endorsement from the state Chamber of Commerce this week.
"(Sheheen) has good values. Very smart. A great understanding of the state," said Rep. David Mack, D-Charleston. "He's always worked on economic development and public education. He should be the next governor."
Some of the mixup may have happened because some lawmakers are likely to endorse Sheheen but haven't done so yet.
"I'm leaning toward him (Sheheen), but I haven't endorsed him yet," said Rep. Patsy Knight, D-Dorchester, who was also included on the endorsement list but did not attend the news conference.
Three other Democrats on the list, Rep. Lester Branham of Florence County, Rep. Kenneth Hodges of Colleton County and Rep. Denny Neilson of Darlington County, said they have not endorsed a gubernatorial candidate.
A couple of other campaigns contacted by The State said they have protocols to ensure endorsements are accurate.
They involve the candidate asking for and getting an endorsement. Then, a campaign staffer follows up with the endorser to ensure the backing is solid.
Greenville-based political consultant Chip Felkel said endorsements mattered much more 20 years ago. But today, skeptical voters who can access information and news on candidates from a variety of sources are far less likely to vote for a certain candidate based on an endorsement.
"Candidates spend a lot of time on those endorsements and I'm not certain that they influence voters," he said.