By Paul Gable
The first shot in what promises to be a vicious fall campaign was fired today when a story on Sen. Jake Knotts appeared in a Columbia newspaper hinting the incumbent District 23 senator may be considering retirement after his next four year term.
I have been in the news business long enough to recognize a planted story when I see one and this one has all the earmarks. It seems like a not so subtle attempt for Gov. Nikki Haley to weigh in on Knotts to the advantage of her best friend and Knotts’ opponent Katrina Shealy.
Shealy will have to be a petition candidate in the fall because she failed to file her candidacy forms properly during the March filing period. Therefore, she needs to build awareness for her candidacy because she won’t be the nominee of a party on the ballot and benefit from all the straight party voters.
Haley tried to get Shealy’s name back on the primary ballot when she spoke to the state Republican Party executive committee before it heard Shealy’s protest on not being certified for the ballot. Despite the fact that the committee voted to certify Shealy, she didn’t appear on the ballot after the S.C. Election Commission properly refused to disobey a ruling of the S.C. Supreme Court.
Having failed in her attempt to have the Republican party disregard the law, Haley used her spokesman Rob Godfrey Thursday to attack Knotts.
This is one of the ways the Shealy camp hopes to promote her candidacy in the fall – attacks by third parties on Knotts while Haley stands by her side.
The problem is that the voters of Lexington County are not stupid. They know Knotts, both for his work as a senator and as a law enforcement officer prior to that. He is the incumbent senator from Lexington and the candidate of the Republican Party.
Haley has consistently demonstrated all of her politics are personal and she does not like Jake Knotts. Regardless of how her statements, or those of her staff and associates, are couched during the campaign, this will be a personal vendetta for the governor against her own party’s candidate.
Haley likes to present herself as a reformer. This campaign will not be about reform, it will be about destruction of the party. We are reminded of the soldier in Vietnam who justified the destruction of a village in order to save it. So goes the Haley logic.
From The State Newspaper: Will lightning rod Knotts retire soon?