The Buzz

March 25, 2014

Elder President Bush endorses Sally Atwater for SC Superintendent of Education

The Buzz

A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to

Former President George H. W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush have endorsed Sally Atwater, the widow of legendary Republican operative Lee Atwater, in the race for S.C. Superintendent of Education.

Atwater also will get a campaign boost from former S.C. GOP Chairman Van D. Hipp, Jr., who will host a fundraiser for the Republican candidate at his home Tuesday night, according to an announcement from Atwater's campaign.

At the event, Atwater will introduce Doro Bush Koch, President Bush's daughter, as her special guest.

Atwater, a special-education teacher, returned to South Carolina from Washington, D.C., in 2012 to teach at a Colleton County elementary school. The Union native now lives in Charleston.

Her husband Lee Atwater was an adviser to Republican Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He managed Bush’s successful 1988 presidential campaign against Michael Dukakis. Lee Atwater died in 1991.

(President Bush with Sally's youngest daughter, Sally Theodosia, at the Atwater's home in Washington, D.C., in 1990.)

"I was pleased to learn Sally is running for this critically important office in South Carolina after dedicating so much of her life as a teacher to understanding and meeting the needs of students and parents alike," President Bush said in the release. "That real-life experience working where 'the rubber meets the road' -- combined with Sally's commitment to public service -- will serve all stakeholders of South Carolina's education system well. Barbara and I endorse and commend her to one and all."

Hipp, who served as S.C. GOP chairman from 1986-89, said, “Sally has been a tireless advocate for special needs students in the Palmetto State. She is a proven conservative leader and will make an excellent Superintendent of Education in South Carolina.” Atwater is one of eight Republican candidates who have announced plans to run for the seat. Two Democrats are seeking their party's nomination.

Atwater said: “We started this campaign last month as a conservative movement to reform education from the old guard bureaucracy in Columbia and Washington, DC. I am pleased to report our support is growing. I remain committed to serving South Carolina as a voice for the classroomfor teachers, students and parents.”

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