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Election 2016: Campaign highlights split between legislator and the governor who once backed him

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

State Senate candidate Stephen Goldfinch says Gov. Nikki Haley doesn’t put up with criticism.

That’s why she came to Georgetown County this week to support one of his opponents in the District 34 Senate race, Reese Boyd. Haley spoke to the Georgetown Rotary Club and attended a fundraiser for Boyd at DeBordieu on Tuesday.

“The people of Georgetown deserve a senator they can be proud of, one that won’t vote for legislative pay raises and higher taxes, and that’s exactly what they will have in conservative reformer Reese Boyd,” Haley said. “Reese is not a politician. He’s a fighter. When Reese gets to Columbia he’ll make sure state government serves his constituents, not the other way around.”

Just two years ago, Haley praised Goldfinch as a fighter when she came to the Hammock Shops to support him against Democrat Vida Miller in the S.C. House District 108 race.

Haley said she’s never been more disappointed in a legislator than Goldfinch.

“I’ve never been more disappointed in the governor, quite frankly,” Goldfinch said. “We agree on 99 percent of the things she discussed. At Rotary, it sounded like she was reading right off my platform. The truth is this is a personality difference. I have complained to the governor that I didn’t like the way she was leading our state, leading on emotions rather than the business sense it requires. Her style of leadership has been to cut people down rather than bring people together. I voiced my dissent on how she’s leading the state, and she’s here to punish me for it. This community is better than that. We deserve a governor who’s not looking for the next job. I want a governor who wants to be governor.”

Goldfinch said Haley is using money donated by “two Indian guys from New York and New Jersey” in an effort to buy three senate races. She has picked Boyd in District 34, Scott Pyle in District 33 over 24-year incumbent Luke Rankin and Richard Skipper in District 31 over 36-year incumbent Hugh Leatherman.

“I’ve heard from dozens of people who are sick of what Nikki Haley is doing, sick of the politics she is playing and I am as well,” Goldfinch said.

Senate District 34 candidate Joe Ford of Hagley Estates said the things Haley said about Boyd apply to him too. “There are a few thing we have disagreements on, but very few,” Ford said. “We both believe somebody else can do a better job.” The fourth candidate in the race, Dick Withington of Horry County, said he knew Haley would support Boyd two months ago. Withington said the governor is targeting Goldfinch because he worked with outgoing Sen. Ray Cleary, who supported an increase in the gas tax. “She’s over-playing her hand,” Withington said.

Voters go to the polls in South Carolina’s open primary on June 14.

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