Lonnie Randolph, the leader of the S.C. chapter of the NAACP, said the likely Democratic nominee for governor “hurt himself” by getting involved in Columbia’s strong mayor referendum.
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, recorded a “robo call” to voters the night before the Dec. 3 election asking them to vote “yes” and make the Columbia mayor a full-time job instead of part time.
The referendum failed by 57 percent to 43 percent.
“He shot himself in the foot with that. I wish he hadn’t done that,” said Randolph, who strongly opposed the strong mayor referendum. “Politicians have to think all the time, and he didn’t think. He didn’t help himself.”
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Andrew Whalen, Sheheen’s campaign manager, said Sheheen’s endorsement did no damage to his campaign.
“Vincent believes in establishing greater accountability at all levels of government, be it federal, state or local,” Whalen said. “He is working right now on the (restructuring) bill to bring greater accountability to state government, and he will continue working to make sure that all levels of government are truly accountable to those they govern.”
Randolph added he still supports Sheheen over Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who also endorsed the strong mayor referendum.