Local Republican leader Tom Hatfield thinks this weekend's devastating storms and floods were a "lame excuse" for presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham to cancel his Monday campaign events.
Graham had been scheduled to make three stops in Beaufort County today, including the noon meeting of the Hilton Head Island First Monday Republican Lunch Group, which Hatfield moderates.
Hatfield took Graham to task shortly after the cancellations in an email late Sunday afternoon.
"My personal opinion is that if he REALLY wanted to tell us why he should be our next President he would find the ways and means to get here by noon tomorrow," Hatfield wrote. "This is nothing more than a lame excuse to (not) come here."
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Record flooding since Thursday has forced thousands to evacuate their homes or vehicles as rising water shut down hundreds of roads, closed stretches of interstates, and destroyed homes and buildings across the state.
At least six people were reported to have died in water-related incidents since Thursday, according to The (Columbia) State newspaper.
While the rains and floods have affected most of the state from Charleston to Georgetown to the Upstate, Beaufort County has remained relatively unscathed.
The storms evidently should not have stopped Graham in Hatfield's eyes.
Although the First Monday group typically refrains from "picking one candidate over another," Hatfield bashed Graham's chances in his email Sunday.
"In this case, it is again my personal opinion that the Senator has a chance of being our Republican nominee somewhere between zero and none," Hatfield wrote. "And therefore, his not attempting to come here is not a problem."
Monday's campaign events would have been Graham's first in Beaufort County since he announced he would run this summer.
The campaign plans to reschedule the events, according to the Beaufort County Republican Party. New dates have not yet been announced.
Follow reporter Zach Murdock on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach and on Facebook at facebook.com/IPBGZach.