S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the state Democratic Party's candidate for governor, makes it clear why he thinks Gov. Nikki Haley should be voted out of office.
“She is not giving us honest leadership. What she is doing is just plain stupid,” Sheheen told supporters at the Aiken County Democratic Party's annual Hot Dog Social on Thursday.
Harold Crawford, the Aiken County Democratic Party's chairman, hosted the event and introduced the speakers.
They included S.C. Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, vying to unseat U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
Also speaking were Rosie Berry, the S.C. House District 84 Democratic candidate; Tom Thompson, the Democratic candidate for state superintendent of education; and Joyce Dickerson, a candidate against Republican Tim Scott, the state's new incumbent U.S. senator.
Sheheen criticized Haley's indifference to the needs of the state's roads and to the serious issues within the Department of Social Services.
“Remember, everybody,” Sheheen said, “There is $11 billion of our Medicaid dollars that Nikki is sending to other states. That's 45,000 jobs we won't have and 300,000 people without insurance.”
It's time for a leader with vision, Sheheen said, but also warned: “We had another (opportunity) four years ago, but 400,000 Democrats didn't vote.”
In the Republican Senate primary, Graham outlasted six opponents – all of them attacking his service in office on a daily basis.
Hutto cited Graham's service, as well.
A state senator from Orangeburg for the past 18 years, Hutto said the incumbent works almost entirely on issues overseas – among them Benghazi and infrastructure in Afghanistan.
The incumbent's misdirected focus is coming at the expense of his own state, Hutto said.
“Graham has one of the most conservative records in the country,” Hutto said. “South Carolina deserves better than that. We need change in so many ways.”
Hutto said he gets the support of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, but also receives a 100 percent rating from the Chamber of Commerce.
“I am a pragmatic problem-solver,” Hutto said. “I'll find a way to make it work.”
Attending the event was Hallie Holland, who echoed Sheheen's concerns about voter turnout.
“It's very important everybody gets out to vote,” he said. “The numbers have been so low. It's not representative of a democracy when most of the people don't participate in the process. So we get elected officials and then sit around and complain about them.”
Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard's education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001. He is a native of Walterboro and majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.
Editor's note: S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen's name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story.
STAFF PHOTO BY ROB NOVIT Harold Crawford, right, the Aiken County Democratic Party’s chairman, introduces S.C. Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg – who will try to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham.×