(Lindsay Street/Summerville Patch)
For Tuesday's presidential debate, the Charleston County Republican Party hosted a watch party
complete with food, drinks and ... someone dressed in pimp garb who wore an Obama mask.
I find that personally disturbing, not just because I’m active with the competing party in the area, and not just because I find CCRP's welcoming of that attendee to be just as discriminatory, negatively-stereotyping and racist as his costume, either.
What offends me is the negative implications now placed upon my Republican friends and relatives.
The person who pulled this stunt made it clear that the Republican Party no longer represents the values of its voters. While party officials and representatives may talk about faith, families, limited government and other so-called conservative issues, their actions are completely different. And that unfairly paints a negative image upon voters who actually support those ideals.
We see this in Republican politicians and candidates very often.
Take, for example, the rhetoric regularly stated by our Republican congressman Tim Scott
. He publicly complains about “big government,” but his record seems to indicate he’s in favor of “Big Brother.”
He voted to extend warrantless searches of your computer
, for example – that allows government to directly access your computer, even your Internet history, at any time without any authorization or even established need. Scott also voted to allow your employer to force you to give up your passwords to social websites
, such as facebook, so that your boss can keep a close eye on your private life. If your employer doesn’t like what he sees, or if you refuse to hand over your passwords? You can be fired.
How, then, is Scott supporting the traditional Republican tenets of freedom and smaller government?
This hypocrisy is especially evident in Carter’s campaign platform. In a “Political Courage” survey he answered earlier this year
, for example, Carter gave some classic conservative answers, calling for reductions in Medicaid benefits and absolutely no restrictions on the purchase or possession of weapons.
In 2000, though, and in response to a survey from this same Vote Smart organization, Carter said he supported an increase in Medicaid benefits, even for non-US citizens. And we should “maintain and strengthen” gun laws, he said. (See his 2000 “Political Courage” responses here
.)So to which party, then, does Carter actually align: Democrat or Republican?
Neither one. Carter apparently wouldn’t represent anyone other than himself.
I think he made that perfectly clear earlier this year, too. During a primary debate, when asked about his previous run for the same office as a Democrat, Carter openly stated that he intentionally misled voters that year. He was only running as a Democrat because he thought it was a strong Democratic district, he stated.
Carter said that, if he’d won that 2000 contest, he would have switched parties the very next year, right after being elected.
This “say one thing, do the opposite” pattern from the GOP isn’t in any way reflective of the Republicans I know.
My brother, for example, who’s a very conservative financial consultant, is quite fed up with the financial irresponsibility that the GOP keeps presenting in its budget proposals.
A neighbor and very good friend, who’s quite firm in his faith, has lost faith in the Republican Party because of the apparent double-standard its elected officials hold for themselves.
And I know that the Republican voters in our community aren’t childish with hints of racism, either, even though that seemed to be the projection at Tuesdays’s local GOP event.
To the actual, true Republican citizens in the Lowcountry, don’t worry – I won’t let that incident affect my perspectives of you and your values, and I’ll make sure local Democrats know that, too.
But you need to reclaim your party very quickly, or else just leave the GOP.
Until then, we all need to vote our values this November. And the only way to do that, apparently, is by voting Democrat, especially in these local races.
“In 2000, that was a strongly Democratic seat,” he said during a primary debate.
“Now with redistricting this year, it looks like it’s going over to lean Republican.”
Ed Carter won
Republican Party nomination for State House Dist. 97 in Tuesday’s primary, according to election results.
But Richard Hayes, chair of Dorchester County’s Democratic Party, suspects Carter is ineligible to continue his candidacy due to blatant errors in campaign filing records.
Hayes now formally challenges Carrol Duncan, chair of the county GOP, to produce the paper records of Carter’s Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) to validate his candidacy.
“Carter filed his SEI online before the candidate filing period actually began,” Hayes says. “Duncan let the county election commission think she got a paper copy of his SEI during the actual filing period, though.”
Hayes requests that Duncan provide him and/or local media with copies of Carter’s SEI and Statement of Intention of Candidacy.
According to records of the state Ethics Commission, Carter filed his SEI for this year’s campaign on March 13. (See image below.) Filing didn’t begin until two days later, however.
A candidate's SEI was to be filed online with the state Ethics Commission; a paper copy of that same SEI, complete with date and time stamp, could then be printed from Ethics' website immediately in following. That printed copy was then to be submitted simultaneously with other paperwork to a county’s party chair. (See sample in right column.)
“If Duncan and Carter did this correctly, then they have the paperwork,” says Hayes. “And since there’s already questionability found in the public records of his filing, then either Duncan needs to put up or Carter needs to pull out.”
of South Carolina’s Code of Law states: “A candidate must file a statement of economic interests for the preceding calendar year at the same time and with the same official with whom the candidate files a declaration of candidacy or petition for nomination.”
The Code’s Section 7-11-1
5 requires that such candidate registration occur “between noon on March sixteenth and noon on March thirtieth,” however.
As a result, Hayes asserts, the documentation of his March 13 filing could indicate Carter is ineligible to continue his campaign.
Two recent state Supreme Court decisions support Hayes’ claims, as well.
In its May 1 case
, the court ruled: “We grant declaratory relief as follows: (1) that individuals not exempt who are seeking nomination by political party primary to be a candidate for office must file a Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) at the same time and with the same official with whom the individuals file a Statement of Intention of Candidacy (SIC); (2) that an official authorized to receive SICs may not accept the forms unless they are accompanied by an SEI; (3) that an individual who did not file an SEI at the same time and with the same official with whom the individual filed an SIC should not appear on the party primary election ballot or the general election ballot(.)”
In its June 4 case
, the court ruled: “(F)iling a paper copy of an SEI simultaneously with the filing of an SIC is the only method by which a non-exempt individual can comply with § 8-13-1356.”
“How could Carter have filed paper copies of the required documents simultaneously?” Hayes asks. “It’s public record he filed his SEI online two days early, and before any registration could be accepted.
“And since Carter filed it early, then how can Duncan have the dated paper copy of the SEI she’s supposed to have received and retained?"
On June 7 Joshua Dickard, executive director of County Elections and Voter Registration, submitted an email to both county party chairs requesting final validation of all candidates. “Please submit any decertified names to my office by 4:00 p.m. today,” Dickard wrote.
Because all of Dorchester County’s Republican candidates, including Carter, remained on the June 12 ballots, Duncan apparently submitted no listing of decertification, Hayes assumes.
“Since she didn’t decertify any candidates, then that means she’s sworn to have the documentation,” he states.
“So let me say it one more time: either Duncan needs to put up or Carter needs to pull out.”
When it comes to campaigning for office, there are some things a politician simply can’t do.
For example, a candidate for public office can’t openly affiliate with any person, group or entity that has any questionable record. Doing so automatically associates the candidate with the negative public reception that entity can have.
Somebody needs to tell that to a couple of South Carolina Republicans, though, who are both having significant portions of their campaigns operated by a company affiliated with adult entertainment.
Summerville Media Group designed and operates the websites of two Republican candidates in Dorchester County – Ed Carter for State House 97 and Bill Hearn, the incumbent County Councilman for District 6.
For verification, simply check the bottom-right corners of each one’s website. At both www.edcarterforthehouse.org
will you read “Proudly powered by Summerville Media Group,” complete with link
It’s when that latter link is explored that things get interesting. Summerville Media Group’s site not only offers additional verification that it designed those political pages (it has images of Carter’s site posted as a sample its web design, for example), but it lists other sites
designed and maintained by SMG, too – including (get ready) “Sexy Skin Magazine.”
“Sexy Skin” as a proud example of its site design and online marketing.
Using only its SMG page description
as source, “Sexy Skin” seems to promote itself as a hub for amateur porn, inviting persons to offer their own photographs for a weekly contest.
“Do you have what it takes?” that website asks, inviting ladies to submit their own pictures. The winner of its “Hottie of the Week” contest can get “a chance to shoot a ‘Feature Layout’ with a Sexy Skin Magazine feature staff photographer.”
SMG affiliation with “Sexy Skin” delves a little deeper, too. It also does “a lot of the Photo Edits of the girls,” its site states
, as well as “design the magazine covers for all the issues.”
(Another site claiming affiliation
with “Sexy Skin,” and making the exact same “Photo Edits of the girls” claims of personal contribution to it, is that of 106 Designs
, which apparently is another name used by SMG. Adding to the GOP:Porn affiliation, 106 Designs lists the website
of Dorchester County’s Republican state Rep. Chris Murphy as one of its projects.)
This certainly seems to be an inappropriate affiliation for any politician to have (let alone openly acknowledge, as indicated by their sites’ “proudly powered by” links), but this is a pretty standard theme for South Carolina Republicans.
Take Roland Corning
, for example. This former state representative was an assistant deputy Attorney General for the state when he was found in a cemetery one afternoon with an 18-year-old strip dancer – and Viagra. Corning’s a SC Republican.
So is Beverly Russell
, who in fact was on the executive committee of the state’s Republican Party. Russell admitted under oath that he had molested his teenaged stepdaughter for over nine years.
Then there’s former Gov. Mark Sanford
, who was busted for using taxpayer dollars to fund his extramarital affair in Argentina. Sanford’s GOP, too.
And let’s not forget the longstanding Republican segregationist Strom Thurmond
, who impregnated a 16-year-old African-American woman, and then denied being the father of the child throughout his 47-year term in U.S. Congress.
(This isn’t limited to South Carolina Republican officials, please note. Consider the long listing on www.republicansexoffenders.com
, which apparently couldn’t keep up with the multitude of consistent news releases of such incidents – it hasn’t been updated since mid-2008.)
This soft-porn affiliation isn’t extended to the Democratic opponents of Carter and Hearn, though. Incumbent Dist. 97 Rep. Patsy Knight has her website
maintained by Harbor Light
, which includes in its long portfolio not a single site that a kid couldn’t see.
And the same can be said for Miriam Birdsong, the Democratic candidate for Hearn’s county council Dist. 6 spot. Birdsong’s site
(still under some construction at the moment) is being made by John Kauth
, a photographer with some dazzle in website design.
There are no accusations of reading dirty magazines or visting porn shops cast upon either of these Republican candidates, but if Hearn says he will “lead by example
,” and if Carter claims “personal responsibility
” as an attribute, then perhaps both should live up to those claims by answering to the affiliation their political campaigns now carry.
When you see the two Republican candidates for District 97 standing side by side, they’re easy to tell apart.
Jordan Bryngelson is tall, slender and notably young, with a thick crop of dark hair he keeps closely cut. Ed Carter is shorter and much older, and the gray hair on his round head has a notably receding hairline.
When you hear the two speak at the same event, however, they become identical twins. Neither Bryngelson nor Carter has a campaign platform stance that is in any way distinguishable from the other’s.
They made that clearly known, too, as they stood next to one another at a debate of Republican candidates, held at the Dorchester County Council building in Summerville on April 30.
Both claimed intentions to provide the best of support to the district’s rural areas.
The top priority for both would be new jobs in the district, they said, followed by modifications for improvement to education, which each claimed would be achieved by charter schools and parental school selection (which translates to sending public school funding to private schools, only for the benefit of upper-income families).
Both Carter and Bryngelson swore to support the bizarre “Fair Tax” program (which is so unfair that even the Bush Administration tossed the concept out the window).
And each one promoted himself to be a tried and true conservative, both using the term “100 percent” so often in those self-descriptions that they each exceeded their quota for use of the phrase by 150 percent.
But if there was any notable difference between them that stood out tonight (aside from their age, height and hair), it was in their declarations of faith to the Republican Party.
Not that each one doesn’t have party faith, mind you. It was the way that Carter explained his one-time run as a Democrat that made him not just visibly distinguishable, but maybe even ethically different, from Bryngelson.
In 2000, Carter ran
for this same District 97 State House race as a Democrat, winning the primary but losing a very close race in the General Election to Republican candidate David J. Owens.
But that doesn’t mean he ever strayed away from the GOP, he claimed.
“The only time I ever voted for a Democrat was when I ran as a Democrat,” Carter said when asked by Summerville Patch
reporter Lindsay Street
about that last campaign.
He only ran as a Democrat, he told the packed house of voters, to intentionally mislead voters.
“In 2000, that was a strongly Democratic seat,” Carter explained, a seat being exited by then-incumbent Rep. George Bailey.
(Bailey is currently a county councilman, and who not only openly played the party-switch game himself, but who even tried to run as a candidate in both the Democratic and Republican party primaries in the same election for the same office. That was in ’06, when he was unseated by the now-incumbent Democrat, Rep. Patsy Knight.)
“What we were doing in 2000 was, run as a Democrat, secure the seat. Then when we redrew the (House district) lines and make it Republican, switch parties next year, and make that a Republican seat from then on out.”
And wouldn’t you know it? The Dist. 97 lines were just redrawn to the likings of the Republican Party. The northeast portion, which is dominantly African-American and Democratic-leaning, was pulled out. It’s now in Dist. 104 that’s represented by the African-American Rep. Joe Jefferson; rural white (and very conservative) portions of Colleton County were added to 97 in its place.
“Now with redistricting this year, it looks like it’s going over to lean Republican,” concluded Carter’s excuse.
But did Carter actually conclude the story? Or even come close to an excuse?
Who was the “we” in the “what we were doing” and “when we redrew” statements?
And when at any time in these back-room deals did the interests of voters get considered?
In his excuse, Carter openly admitted that his intentions were not to represent the public, but only his own interests and those of his Republican Party.
Remember, mind you, that both candidates made the same “party, not the public” pledge.
Carter, however, one-upped Bryngelson by admitting to cheap, unethical and deliberately-misleading schemes.
Thankfully, no matter which one pulls it off in the June 12 primary race, voters can still select Rep. Patsy Knight in November.
Knight won’t let middle-class tax dollars be used to the pay the private school tuition for children of upper-class families, unlike the declared goals of those Republican candidates. Different from the stances of both Bryngelson and Carter, she doesn’t fall for the “Fair Tax” foolery, either. Separating her from those two even farther, she represents all constituents, not just a political party.
And in distinct difference from Ed Carter in particular – and which he publicly admitted – Knight has not, will not, and never will mislead voters with any cheap, back-room, political trick.