S.C. Republicans Devouring One Another

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GOPers and Dems around the state are stunned at the column which Cyndi Campsen Mosteller published in The State newspaper Wednesday. Before you read this, you must understand that the Campsens have had long and close ties with Mark and Jenny Sanford. Her brother, Chip Campsen, has been a close political ally and personal friend of Mark Sanford for decades. When he was in Congress, Sanford intervened with the U.S. Park Service on behalf of the Campsen Family to protect the family's monopoly tour boat service to Fort Sumter. Chip served on the Governor's staff in Sanford's first administration. In 2004, Sanford moved heaven and earth to get Campsen elected to the state Senate, where he has been the Governor's legislative point man for much of the past six years. Sanford appointed Cyndi Mosteller to the S.C. Commission on Higher Education. She has served as first vice chairman of the S.C. Republican Party and chairman of the Charleston County Republican Party.

In Wednesday's column, she turned savagely against her old friend his old ally Nikki Haley, who happens to also be the GOP nominee for governor. It will be interesting to see if this column also runs in the Post and Courier, serving the town where the Sanfords and the Campsens all live.

Cyndi Mosteller — that's somebody I would never want to piss off! See her column at
http://www.thestate.com/2010/09/22/1476430/mosteller-haley-puts-gop-principles.html#ixzz10QEU94HQ


Vincent Sheheen’s opening words on his first TV ad, “South Carolina is at a crossroads,” are one intersection over from our state’s political realities. In the governor’s race, it is the state Republican Party that finds itself uncomfortably driven to the crossroads. With a 55 percent win in the last gubernatorial election and seven of eight constitutional offices, Republican, conservative and tea party voters together hold mathematical strength to elect our next governor. In a nation led by Barack Obama and a state led by Mark Sanford, this decision has never been more critical or more complicated.

Since the June 2009 Sanford-Chapur expose, our state’s reputation has been tarnished by a leader compromised. A decade earlier, Congressman Mark Sanford stood for Bill Clinton’s resignation on the Lewinsky affair, declaring that “it would be much better for the country and for him personally” to resign. Unfortunately, a lack of shame is often the closest companion to lack of honor, and both leaders held tight their power of title, even after having lost the power of principle. With Nikki Haley, Republicans might be approaching that unfamiliar crossroads where victory of title and victory of principle are more perpendicular than parallel.

As former vice chairman of the state Republican Party, my political hemoglobin runs iron-strong red. I’m down the line for Republicans Alan Wilson, Mick Zais and Tim Scott — not just for their stands, but for their character. In contrast, facts and allegations regarding Mrs. Haley raise valid questions in many a Republican conscience.

Though running on a platform of transparency and accountability, Mrs. Haley has not paid her taxes by April 15 for the past five years, and has not even filed them by the end of her extension in three of those years — years she served in our General Assembly. And Mrs. Haley’s company, where she was the accountant, incurred three liens for withholding and income taxes not paid until 19 months past due. Yet Mrs. Haley continues to campaign on such statements as: “I know I’m the right person to go into this next position because I’m an accountant, who knows what it means to stretch a dollar.”

And what of the sexual allegations? They are so removed from core Republican values that if it weren’t for Mark Sanford, we could never imagine them possibly being true — nor imagine that any candidate would consider himself or herself worthy of governing if they were. When former Sanford press secretary Will Folks asserted “an inappropriate physical relationship with Nikki,” released more than 60 damage-control texts made to Haley’s campaign and published a detailed log of late night-calls with Mrs. Haley, she called them “categorically and totally false” and insisted, “I have been 100 percent faithful to my husband throughout our 13 years of marriage.” That denial drew an unequivocal “that is not true” from Republican lobbyist Larry Marchant, who said he had sex with Mrs. Haley and “I know in my heart it happened, and she knows in her heart it happened.”

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