Politics & Government

Confederate flag issue raised in 5th District race

The ad battles are heating up in the 5th District special election, including one spot that calls out GOP lawmakers for “folding” on the Confederate flag.

Republican Sheri Few of Lugoff launched her first radio ad in the congressional race this week, attacking “weak Republicans” who voted to remove the Confederate flag at the S.C. State House in 2015 in the wake of the Charleston church massacre.

“I’m running for Congress to reject political correctness,” Few says in the ad, a 60-second spot airing in the Columbia market.

Few previously said GOP primary opponents Ralph Norman, a former state representative from Rock Hill, and S.C. House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope, R-York, had waged a “war on Confederate monuments.”

Few is competing for right-wing Republican voters in the May 2 primary, which is expected to have a low turnout.

Her ad is one of several hitting the airwaves. Pope launched his first ad last week. Norman launched an ad this week calling for a “spring cleaning” in the spring election, touting his support for term limits and a balanced budget amendment.

Former S.C. GOP chairman Chad Connelly also hit the airwaves with an ad burnishing his “outsider” credentials, pledging to repeal — not “fix” — the Affordable Care Act and build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. “If you want another legislator, trial lawyer or lobbyist, vote for someone else,” Connelly says in the ad.

Candidates also are claiming endorsements.

Camden businessman Tom Mullikin has been endorsed by former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, an outspoken Christian conservative and former presidential candidate. Santorum endorsed Mullikin in an op-ed that tackled job losses in manufacturing.

“He and his wife Virginia Ann grew up in homes where their fathers worked in a textile mill,” Santorum wrote, endorsing Mullikin. “They have seen the economic devastation of communities across this country, a direct result of a Congress failing to address failed treaties and high taxes.”

Meanwhile, Connelly has been endorsed by James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, who praised Connelly’s work as the Republican National Committee’s faith engagement director.

“He has traveled tirelessly to 40 states and spoken to 80,000 pastors and faith leaders with a message I have pushed for years as well: ‘It is crucial that Christians and people of faith engage in the public arena like never before’ ” Dobson said in his endorsement statement.

Republicans are not the only ones claiming endorsements.

Rock Hill Democrat Alexis Frank accepted the endorsement of the National Women’s Political Caucus, a group dedicated to supporting women in public office. The organization said Frank would “lift up her constituents with education and living wages.”

5TH DISTRICT DEMS TO HOLD JOINT FORUM

The three Democrats vying for South Carolina’s 5th District congressional seat will meet next week for a joint forum.

Alexis Frank, Les Murphy — both of York County — and Archie Parnell of Sumter will take part in a “Chair Chats” forum, moderated by S.C. Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison.

The forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. on April 6 in the Wiles Chapel at Newberry College. To attend, RSVP at scdp.org/5thdistrictforum.

The Democratic primary also will be on May 2.

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