The Buzz

SC Democrats kick off 2016 election campaign

About 20 Democratic state and congressional candidates gathered on the State House steps Thursday to kick off the party’s Nov. 8 campaign, centered on the message “Enough is Enough.”

“After 14 years of Republican dominance of South Carolina state government,” state Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison said, “our schools are failing, our roads are crumbling, our wages are stagnated, our dams are breaking, our coast line is receding, our hospitals are closing, and our people are being denied health insurance and dying two years earlier than the national average.”

State Sen. Thomas McElveen, D-Sumter, said it is important to elect more Democrats because Republicans have been unwilling to compromise in the State House.

“Our caucus has fought, and we’ve done all we can to collaborate with our Republican colleagues to come up with real, long-term solutions to fix our roads and our infrastructure so that we can ensure continued economic development, opportunities and success for South Carolinians,” said McElveen. “But the leadership of the other party hasn’t been interested in that.”

The Democratic 2016 campaign will be led by state Sen. Margie Bright Matthews, D-Colleton, and state Reps. James Smith, D-Richland; John King, D-York; and Mandy Powers Norrell, D-Lancaster.

The party will announce a series of town halls to show off its candidates to voters, Harrison said.

Among the more high-profile S.C. congressinoal races:

▪ A former aide to Vice President Joe Biden, Fran Person, is taking on U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, in the 5th District

▪ Librarian Arik Bjorn is running against U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, in the 2nd District

▪ Activist Dimitri Cherny is running against U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, in the 1st District

Harrison said the Democratic Party will support candidates in every race, even in districts gerrymandered “so that if Jesus Christ came down, he probably couldn’t win.”

“If we can pick up any seats, I think that’s an improvement,” he said. “And that’s our goal, to do as much as we possibly can to put the Democratic message out there. We didn’t get into this position overnight, and we’re not going to get out of it overnight.”

Avery G. Wilks: 803-771-8362, @averygwilks