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FITSNews – March 25, 2008 – Imagine you’re a consultant working for a politician who is trailing in the polls … a politician who is vulnerable on multiple issues important to the citizens of her district … a politician whose status as a paramour in an adulterous relationship (with another politician) is about to become front-page fodder once again after a lawsuit on improperly-sealed public records is filed later this week …

Imagine all that … now imagine that your name is Rod Shealy, and that little things like committing election fraud don’t matter to you because you’ve already been convicted of that once before – back when you hired an unemployed black fisherman to run against your own sister in an admitted effort to frighten white voters.

Add all that up … and you’d still never be able to imagine what went down in Beaufort County, S.C. over the last forty-eight hours …

The fun started this Saturday afternoon, when a mystery man supposedly named “Josias Mirales Ayala” showed up unannounced and uninvited at the home of Tom Davis, the former chief of staff to Gov. Mark Sanford.

Davis, who hasn’t officially announced but is widely presumed to be running against State Sen. Catherine Ceips in a Republican primary this summer, is having his house painted in anticipation of his family’s return to Beaufort. In fact, Davis’ wife paid big bucks to hire a company that uses only documented, insured workers – facts which were all verified in today’s breaking coverage of this latest Shealy scam in the Beaufort Gazette.

Neither Davis, his family, nor the three legal workers assigned to the project were at the home when the man alleged to be Ayala gained entry for what appears to be the sole purpose of inviting Ceips’ Chief of Staff, Randy Bates (who apparently just happened to be in the neighborhood – with a translator), into Davis’ home.

At that point, the man alleged to be Ayala did what you would naturally expect any illegal alien to do when confronted with a white man carrying a camera and accompanied by a translator – he posed for photographs and promptly confessed to Ceips’ Chief of Staff that he was in the country working illegally and that Davis (whom he has never met) hired him to paint his house.

Within 48 hours, Shealy had sent the photograph taken by Bates to Associated Press reporter Jim Davenport, telling him that the governor’s former chief of staff had an illegal alien working at his residence.

The objective of the botched set-up by Ceips campaign was to take away one of Davis’ strongest issues in the campaign – illegal immigration.

While Ceips was voting to elect a Democratic Supreme Court justice who turned around weeks later and granted workers compensation rights to illegal aliens (i.e. “bad” in a Republican primary), Davis was working with Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner to provide local law enforcement with additional tools for cracking down on them (i.e. “good” in a Republican primary).

Not surprisingly, Davis wasted little time in going on the offensive against the Ceips’ campaign’s unsubstantiated accusations. From the Gazette story:

“These kinds of attacks are what is wrong with politics,” Davis said in a released statement. “What Ms. Ceips and her campaign operatives are doing is reprehensible, Today, I call on Ms. Ceips to fire Rod Shealy and Randy Bates, the two operatives who carried out this dirty trick at her direction.”

Davis said he would file a police report if the conversation between Bates and the painter took place inside the home.

“If Randy Bates was in my house, if Catherine Ceips’ chief of staff was in my house, I’m filing charges. That can’t happen,” he said.   

Davis isn’t the only one contemplating legal action against Ceips’ minions. FITSNews spoke today with Henry Tome, manager of Partners Painting Company in Beaufort, who told us his firm was exploring its legal options after the photographers harassed his employees at Davis’ home in another bizarre incident this weekend.

“They were yelling at us and telling us to go home,” Tome told FITSNews. “It was very uncomfortable.

After providing drivers’ licenses, social security numbers and green cards for himself and the two other legal workers authorized to be on Davis’ property, Tome confirmed he had never seen – let alone employed – the man Ceips’ campaign alleges is Ayala.

“There will be legal action,” Tome said. “This is my reputation and they are attacking it.”

Stay tuned, people … this story is far from over.