Politics & Government

Andre Bauer gets Huckabee's backing

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer is being backed by former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee in the GOP race for governor.

Huckabee, who served as governor of Arkansas before finishing second in S.C. Republican presidential primary in 2008, endorsed Bauer in a fundraising letter for the lieutenant governor and Huck-PAC, Huckabee's political action committee.

"Andre Bauer is a champion we can believe in," Huckabee wrote. "He has fought for the people of South Carolina since the day he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1996. As Lt. Governor, he has ruled against every single proposed tax increase, saving the people of South Carolina $2 billion."

The other Republicans in the race are: U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett; Lexington Rep. Nikki Haley; S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster; and Berkeley Sen. Larry Grooms.

Huckabee also recently endorsed Rep. Rex Rice's bid to replace Gresham Barrett in the 3rd Congressional District.

- Staff reports

High court upholds murder conviction

South Carolina's Supreme Court has upheld the murder conviction of a 66-year-old Columbia attorney found guilty of shooting a strip club owner.

The justices on Monday also affirmed Dewain Herring's 30-year prison sentence.

Herring was found guilty of murder in 2007. Prosecutors said he was so angry after getting kicked out of Chastity's Gold Club in January 2006, he pulled a gun from his car and fired a shot at the club's door.

The shot hit owner John Johnson Jr. in the head, killing him.

Authorities said Herring threatened to kill someone after he was escorted from the club for taking his clothes off in a private room. Herring's attorney argued the lawyer was slipped a date-rape drug and wasn't in control of his actions.

Herring has been disbarred.

- The Associated Press

Union County official facing charges

UNION - Union County public works director Lisa Ward was arrested Friday and charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult and theft of a controlled substance.

Authorities say Ward took the woman to a doctor, filled the woman's hydrocodone prescription and kept the drugs for herself. Ward has been suspended. County officials did not know whether she had an attorney.

Former court clerk Brad Morris has been charged with embezzlement. And several former officials - sheriff Howard Wells, supervisor Donald Betenbaugh and tax assessor Willie Randall Jr. - face various federal charges.

Union's former mayor and zoning administrator have served federal prison time for bribes.

- The Associated Press

Federal funds to boost I-95 exit development

HARDEVILLE - Officials here hope $500,000 in federal funds will speed the development of an exit from Interstate 95.

The money is earmarked to extend Bluffton Parkway west to the interstate. It now ends at S.C. 170. The money will go toward planning the parkway extension and drafting a report on the interchange, interim city manager Ted Felder said.

City officials say the exit would spur development in a poor corner of the state and speed hurricane evacuation.

The exit would be the first for northbound travelers entering South Carolina. It's expected to cost $30 million to $40 million to build.

- The (Hilton Head) Island Packet

Inmate dies four days after suicide attempt

ROCK HILL - An inmate at the York County Prison died Sunday after attempting suicide Wednesday.

James Wylie Sexton Jr., 54, of York, died Sunday morning at Piedmont Medical Center, said York County public works director David Harmon.

York County's prison is a minimum security facility that houses inmates convicted of crimes and sentenced. The public works department oversees the prison.

York County Sheriff's Office and the State Law Enforcement Division have been notified of the incident, Harmon said. Sheriff's Office Capt. Jerry Hoffman said the agency is investigating.

- The (Rock Hill) Herald