Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jay Stamper put out an aggressive statement this week in support of gay marriage. We don’t agree with him on that issue (government should stay out of the marriage business completely), but his release raised an interesting question …
Who is Jay Stamper?
Earlier this week we ran a guest column from an anonymous Democrat. This writer ripped Stamper and urged the S.C. Democratic Party (SCDP) to recruit a “real candidate” – a “reputable Democrat” – to challenge him for the party’s 2014 nomination.
“He is not a viable candidate,” the columnist wrote of Stamper, adding that he “is a convicted felon and appears to have moved from Washington State to South Carolina this year solely for the purpose of running for office, but he can’t raise any money to do so.”
“His financial disclosure shows he is in serious debt and has no income,” the columnist added.
Stamper received probation and more than $10,000 in fines related to his former business – Federal Savings. According to prosecutors, Stamper’s company was misleading investors and selling unregistered securities.
Stamper disputes that characterization.
“I received very bad advice from lawyers, acted on that bad advice and ended up paying a heavy price for it,” Stamper told FITS. “I never lied, cheated or stole. No one lost any money except for me. I took responsibility early on and made it my continuing priority to make sure my investors received the promised return on their investment – even contributing $600,000 of my own money to make sure that happened.”
Democrats – still smarting from the Alvin Green debacle of 2010 – remain unconvinced.
“He’s a convicted felon who moved to South Carolina in March,” one top Democrat told us, adding “Why do you think he picked our state?”
Another Democratic strategist expressed concern that Stamper’s bid was “about attaining some other end than actually being elected to the U.S. Senate.”
“No one knows anything about his real motivations for seeking this seat,” the strategist said.
Stamper is undeterred in the face of such criticism.
“The bottom line is that we all make mistakes,” he said. “I have my issues, Lindsey Graham has his issues and then there are the real issues: jobs, education, infrastructure, tax reform, the budget crisis.”
“I expect to be hit hard on this by Lindsey Graham, who sees scandals everywhere, from Benghazi to the IRS Tea Party scandal,” Stamper added. “Of course the real scandal is that Graham voted to authorize over $1.4 trillion in spending for overseas engagements and nation building when we desperately need nation building right here in the US for infrastructure.”
Graham – who has $7 million in the bank for his reelection bid – is facing a trio of challengers in the 2014 Republican primary election, Upstate businessman and former congressional candidate Richard Cash, Lowcountry businesswoman Nancy Mace and S.C. Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg).
Collectively, Graham’s challengers have raised less than $500,000 since announcing.