Tuesday, October 15, 2013

P&C ignores Lt. Gov. candidate's ties to Nikki Haley and his role in banned campaign ad

The governor's lackey

Posted by Chris Haire on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 3:16 PM

click to enlarge GOP candidate for lieutenant governor Pat McKinney - USTREAM SCREEN CAPTURE
  • Ustream screen capture
  • GOP candidate for lieutenant governor Pat McKinney

I'm not one to bash the Post and Courier. Yeah, I've gotten in my fair share of digs over the years — I was quite brutal during Marcus Amaker's tenure at Charleston Scene — but I've mellowed since then.

Despite its flaws, the P&C is the best daily paper in the state, and one of the few around that actually has a sizable amount of quality local news coverage and a frikkin' political columnist who actually has something to say (props to Brian Hicks). They also don't shy away from in-depth investigative pieces, and their school district coverage is unbelievably hard hitting.

Which is why it pains me to say this, but today's piece by Robert Behre on Pat McKinney is a real turd. 

As many of you know, McKinney just announced that he's going to challenge Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell in 2014 and, according to Behre, McKinney plans to work closely with the governor — who, thanks to Vincent Sheheen's inability to inspire the Democratic base with his weak-willed positions on topics like same-sex marriage, is surely going to be Haley.

However, the P&C fails to mention that McKinney is a big-time Haley donor and a friend of the Haley family. The State's Andrew Shain, however, doesn't seem to have a problem doing so. Shain writes:

McKinney, a 63-year-old father of three, is on Haley’s re-election finance team, a position he also held in Haley’s 2010 campaign for governor. McKinney also is on the board of Haley’s foundation, and the governor appointed him to the State Ports Authority.

McKinney also led a political group with ties to then-Gov. Mark Sanford that bought $400,000 in ads in support of Haley in 2010, advertising credited with helping jump-start the then-state representative’s Republican primary bid for governor.

Oddly enough, Shain doesn't name the group — ReformSC — or note that those ads were pulled because a judge ruled they were illegal. In 2010, the State's one-time political reporter John O'Connor wrote:

But ReformSC, a nonprofit started to support Sanford’s restructuring agenda, did step in on Haley’'s behalf. The group purchased $400,000 of television advertising, beginning May 10, that Haley’'s campaign could not afford on its own. The ad, featuring Haley speaking at an April Tea Party rally, was the introduction she needed to pique voter curiosity.

A judge ordered the ads off the air about two weeks later because they illegally promoted Haley’s campaign, but, by then, she had received the needed bump.

Now, I can't speak for Shain and I certainly can't speak for Behre, but I think the former probably only made a slight error, but the latter, well, he screwed up royally. By failing to note McKinney's close ties to Haley, Robert Behre has shown not only a complete disdain for political reporting but to the voting population as a whole.

I don't know why he did this or if, perhaps, one of his editors did, but the public should know when one of the governor's lackeys decides to run for the largely ceremonial position of lieutenant governor, a position that is now currently held by Glenn McConnell, a man who as Senate Pro Tem was the single most powerful person in South Carolina politics, a man who only lost that position when then-Lt. Gov. Ken Ard resigned in disgrace, a man who fought Nikki Haley tooth and nail during the early part of her term. 

When it all comes down to it, none of this is about Pat McKinney and his desire to be the lite guv. Only a dimwit like Andre Bauer wants that job. I mean, your only responsibility is to head a department overseeing old people. The truth is, this is all about Glenn McConnell and Nikki Haley's desire to make him suffer one more indignity. 

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