And so the plot thickens in the long running soap opera that is South Carolina politics…….
Finally, two years after it took place, the video of State Senator Jake (Jakie) Knotts’ bigoted “raghead” rant against then candidate (now Governor) Nikki Haley and President Obama has been posted for all to see. Portions of his comments were quoted at the time and made national news, but it’s really something to watch the words come out of Knotts’ mouth. The incident took place June 3, 2010 on Wesley Donehue’s internet radio program – Pub Politics. Donehue admittedly sat on the video refusing to release it and all this time, and denies any involvement in releasing it now. For more on that part of the story check out Charlie Speight’s blog at the garnet spy.
In the video Knotts says, Voters will find out “in the next three days, that her (Haley’s) daddy wears a turban around Lexington and her mommy has a ruby between her head and she is a Sheikh (sic) and trying to be a Methodist, and it gets to Greenville, around the Bob Jones University people, they’re not going to like that. We got a raghead in Washington. We don’t need a raghead in the state house.” (Both of Haley’s parents are immigrants from India. Nikki converted to Christianity years ago, and she and her husband Michael are Methodist and have baptized their two Children Rena and Nalin as Methodists.)
Ironically Knotts’ prediction about Greenville and Bob Jones University country in the upstate couldn’t have been more wrong, since Governor Haley garnered one third of her net votes from Greenville County alone in the general election. As per this picture which places counties who went for democrat Vincent Sheheen in blue, and Haley counties in red; you can see that Haley’s support came heavily from the uber-conservative Bible-thumping upstate. Even more impressive is how Haley defeated 3 better known better funded men in the primary. She took 49 and a half percent of the vote in the first round. Had she gotten one more half of a percent she would have won a 4 way race without a runoff. She won the runoff with 65 percent of the vote.
In 2008 Katrina Shealy took Knotts on in the republican primary (Dist 23 Lexington) and came within 500 votes of defeating him for the nomination. Shealy is running against him once again this year and was clearly going to beat him this time around. So in the 11th hour of the process, Knotts, in what seemed to be coordination with the State Democrat Party Chairman, put a couple of his thugs up to filing a lawsuit to get Shealy thrown off the ballot on a technicality. Few people expected the lawsuit to succeed, but succeed it did before the SC Supreme Court. Not only did Shealy get kicked off the ballot, but also about 180 other candidates from across the state along with her. Basically all of the candidates, about 60% republican and 40% democrat were primary challengers of incumbents since the rule didn’t apply to incumbents as it should.
It’s worth mentioning that Knotts is an influential member of the Senate Judiciary Committee; and that South Carolina is unlike most states because our Supreme Court Justices are elected by the legislature. But why put 2 and 2 together?…..
Good news regarding this from yesterday is that the State Senate has acted to change the law going forward. The change will make the rules more clear regarding filing, and require incumbents to meet the same filing requirements as their challengers have to. But that did nothing for those who had been kicked off for this year. Several candidates including Katrina Shealy petitioned the SCGOP Executive Committee which met yesterday with many people in attendance including Governor Haley showing their support. The Committee voted 26-0 to reinstate Shealy to the June 12 primary ballot. Jim Lee of Greenville also won his appeal and will face 27 year incumbent Senator David Thomas.
I have not had time to research and find out who else may have won their appeals etc, but I doubt that all or even most of the 180+ candidates will be able to get reinstated. Many candidates like Gaye Holt and Kerry Wood of Spartanburg are pledging to run as petition candidates if they can’t get back on the ballot in time.
The true shame of all this is that one man – Jake Knotts’ narcissism and sexism has caused nearly 200 good candidates- democrats and republicans to be thrown off the ballot in the 4th quarter of the game. It has disfranchised countless thousands of voters from across the state. It has cost the state, GOP, and candidates thousands of dollars they did not need to spend on court fees etc. Knotts is the poster-child for every bad image the south has. He is the embodiment of the good ‘ol boy establishment-thug system. And I haven’t even mentioned his voting record…….
He has become South Carolina’s hemorrhoid. (Though an actual hemorrhoid might be less annoying and embarrassing) We need to get rid of him ASAP.
There is even talk that there may be an attempt to try and block Knotts from being seated at the state GOP convention on Saturday if he attends; and possibly even a call for him to be kicked out of the party altogether. I must say that if that happens I will be in full support of it.
Knotts’ “raghead” rant greatly embarrassed South Carolina when it made national news in 2010, and it reinforced the unfortunate stereotype of us South Carolinians being backward sexist bigoted good ‘ol boys. But we rallied and sent a clear message by electing Nikki Haley as our first female and first minority Governor. Not because she is female and or a minority; and not in spite of it, but because she was the best and candidate for the job.
Now let’s rally around Katrina Shealy as she tries to send Jakie Boy into retirement. Conservatives and tea partiers from across the state should look to this race as the number one priority in defeating the good ‘ol boy establishment system in South Carolina.
Let’s get ‘er done SC!
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