Politics & Government

August 10, 2013

The Buzz: Relax! The campaign’s only beginning.

Nancy Mace likely found the mantra – “Keep Calm and Primary On” useful last week as she was being grilled on radio and television after announcing her GOP primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

Nancy Mace likely found the mantra – “Keep Calm and Primary On” useful last week as she was being grilled on radio and television after announcing her GOP primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.

While in the hot seat, the owner of a Charleston marketing and public relations firm had to answer for re-tweeting a supporter’s tweet slurring the two-term Seneca Republican. Deleted from her twitter account 10 minutes later, the re-tweet was captured on the Sunlight Foundation’s Politwoops, which tracks deleted tweets of pols and candidates.

Mace said the re-tweet was an accident and took full responsibility after telling The Buzz Wednesday that she did not know about the re-tweet until asked about it. The item likely was posted online by campaign staffers, she said then.

(Mace has stuck to the pronoun “we” in talking about the error, but The Buzz still has not heard back on how many campaign staffers her campaign has or how many staffers manage her Twitter account.)

Mace also explained recently to Stephen Largen of Free Times and Tea-Party radio’s Laura Ingraham about how she, at one point, had an ownership stake in the political-gossip-bikini website FITSNews.

The national media’s interest may have been piqued by The Charleston City Paper’s Chris Haire who wrote Mace’s relationship with the sometimes-NSFW FITS could be her “biggest obstacle.”

Mace did website design and programming for FITSNews, headed by blogger Will Folks, who famously claimed in 2010 to have had an affair with Gov. Nikki Haley and, ever since, has been a thorn in Haley’s side.

Mace told Ingraham that she was paid for her work on the website with an ownership stake, rather than fees, but she was not responsible for its content. Then, she heaped praise on Haley, saying, “She’s the first female governor of South Carolina.”

“Why would I, as the first female graduate of the Citadel, ever go after her?”

A good man is hard to find

Columbia pro-life activist Steve Lefemine, director of the Columbia Christians for Life, has decided already that Mace shouldn’t run.

Lefemine’s thinking, which he sent out in an email blast last week, goes like this: Two Republican, pro-life, Christian constitutionalist candidates already are running against Graham in the June 2014 GOP primary – state Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg, and Easley businessman and former congressional candidate Richard Cash. Both Bright and Cash are men, fitting God’s plan for who should serve in political office, or so Lefemine argues.

The Bible, according to Lefemine and a 2004 article by a Pennsylvania minister, says women shouldn’t serve in public office for a number of reasons, including that women should not rule over men.

Still, Lefemine sees God’s work in some women rising to power. Having campaigned against former Lexington state Sen. Jake Knotts’ 2012 re-election, Lefemine said he was happy when Knotts was defeated by now-state Sen. Katrina Shealy. “Sometimes God uses a woman,” Lefemine said.

Speak up and look into the camera

State Sen. Lee Bright’s signature Tea Party outrage bubbled over Thursday during a Senate Medical Affairs Committee hearing into DHEC’s mishandling of a Greenwood County tuberculosis outbreak, which led to 50 children contracting the TB germ.

In asking DHEC chief Catherine Templeton whether she had enough money to pay for medical professionals at her agency, Bright launched into an outburst about how he has spent five years in the Senate listening to politicians lament the lack of public money to pay for things. And yet, Bright said, the state spends money on silly things and legislators waste time on politics.

The silly-spending culprit Bright used as an example? Condom fashion shows.

Earlier this year students at the taxpayer-supported University of South Carolina held their sixth annual Project Condom, a condom-inspired fashion show meant to raise awareness about sexual health. The Daily Gamecock reported the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Straight Alliance took the top prize.

Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, noted the irony of Bright’s it’s-all-silliness-and-politics rhetoric, captured by “several television cameras pointed toward the guy who’s running for U.S. Senate.”

“Thank you for that non-political speech you gave,” Lourie added.

Bright, who already has a new campaign website, said he will make his Republican primary challenge to Graham official this week.

The Guv’s Race and the TB outbreak

State Sen. Vincent Sheheen attempted to one-up Haley last week, sending her a letter detailing his visits to the families affected by the Greenwood County tuberculosis outbreak and asking her to create a “TB Crisis Controller,” or a single point of contact for the families.

When Haley’s camp dismissed the Camden Democrat’s request, calling him a “political ambulance chaser,” Sheheen’s camp fired back. “Governor Haley has now officially said more about politics and the TB outbreak than she has said about families affected by the scandal – certainly much more than she has ever said to the parents directly,” said Kristin Sosanie, S.C. Democratic Party spokesperson.

In response, Haley’s former spokesman Rob Godfrey – now a campaign adviser – criticized Sheheen for “ambulance chasing for victims whenever a problem arises in the state. If he could figure out a way to do it, he’d blame Nikki Haley for the weather being bad.”

Buzz bites

• What do Haley and President Barack Obama have in common? Brent Nelsen. Obama nominated, and the U.S. Senate confirmed, Nelsen to be a director of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The Furman University political science professor and 2010 Republican primary candidate for state education superintendent also is Haley’s appointee to the board of the S.C. Education Television Commission, where he has been chairman since 2011. Nelsen said his appointment, in part, was an effort to bring political balance to the corporation’s board and followed a long vetting process. “The White House, they made certain that they knew what they were getting.”
• “We don’t use them (universities) near enough for the research they have, the ideas they have and the proven results they know will happen if we listen to what they have to say.”

Gov. Haley to The Buzz, after meeting with deans of S.C. colleges of education Tuesday as part of her ongoing meetings about ways to reform the state’s K-12 education system

• “Well, first of all, Senator Lourie, she’s wicked smart.”

S.C. DHEC chief Catherine Templeton, responding to a question from state Sen. Lourie, D-Richland, at a Senate Medical Affairs Committee meeting, on why she chose Jamie Shuster , former budget director in Gov. Haley’s office, as the state’s director of public health, overseeing at least 1,000 employees

• Runner up for Tweet of the Week (to Mace’s “Nancy boy” re-tweet)

“With the 2014 elections coming up. On some of the candidates do you send a campaign contribution or a get well soon card?”

State Sen. Harvey Peeler , R-Cherokee

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