Customs and Border Protection photo
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend pictured in 2014
Democratic S.C. candidate for governor Phil Noble nabbed a potent endorsement during a Monday morning press conference at the state Democratic Party headquarters in Columbia.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, daughter of former U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy and niece of President John F. Kennedy, cited Noble's support for gun reform as her biggest reason for supporting him.
"Our families go back many years in a struggle for civil rights that still continues for all people," Townsend said in a statement, recalling an anecdote when President Kennedy commended the work of Noble's father, who was a minister in Alabama during the civil rights movement.
Noble is running against S.C. Rep. James Smith and Florence attorney Marguerite Willis for the Democratic nomination. The primaries for both the Republican and Democratic parties will be held on June 12, followed by the general election on Nov. 6. Less than a week after the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17, Noble said that Smith's
NRA record (A- as recently as 2010 and 2012) should
"disqualify" him from pursuing the office.
Democratic gubernatorial candidat Phil Noble.
Noble also spoke out against Congressman Ralph Norman's now-infamous gun brandishing
during a meeting with constituents earlier this month.
"The fact is, if he didn't have the word 'Congressman' in front of his name, he'd be undergoing a mandatory, 24-hour psych evaluation right now — and, frankly, that's exactly where he belongs," he said in a statement.
"I believe that many gun owners and non-gun owners understand that we need to have background checks to make sure we know who we’re selling the guns to," Townsend said at Monday's press conference as reported by the Post & Courier
. "It can’t be enough to talk about what we should do in case there’s gun violence," she said. "I’d rather have my father and my uncle alive, so let's stop the problems in the first place.”
Townsend, 66, lost her uncle John and father Robert to gun violence in the 1960s. She was elected lieutenant governor of Maryland in 1995, serving until 2003, and has since devoted herself to
campaigning and fundraising for Democratic candidates.
"It can’t be enough to talk about what we should do in case there’s gun violence," she added at Monday's press conference. "I’d rather have my father and my uncle alive, so let's stop the problems in the first place."
Noble founded the Palmetto Project in 1985, a non-profit that operates statewide and in recent years
has become one of the largest navigator services for people wanting to enroll in plans facilitated by the Affordable Care Act marketplace.
You can register to vote ahead of June's primaries online at SCVotes.org.