Four days ago, this website broke the news that S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s 2014 reelection committee included an alleged white supremacist, one Roan Garcia Quintana.
Quintana’s alleged white supremacy – detailed in this Democratic memo obtained exclusively by our website – has since gone viral, receiving extensive play from numerous statewide and national media outlets.
We still don’t think the story is a “huge deal” (as we noted in our original coverage), but Haley’s likely opponent in South Carolina’s 2014 gubernatorial race disagrees with us.
“Nikki Haley’s appointment of a white supremacist to her re-election steering committee and refusal to renounce his beliefs is deeply disturbing,” S.C. Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden) said in a statement. “The racist beliefs and harmful rhetoric that Governor Haley is standing by have no place in our politics, are offensive to South Carolinians, and once again damage the reputation of our great state. We deserve so much better from our elected leaders.”
Sheheen’s release also noted that Garcia Quintana – a Cuban immigrant, ironically – had “doubled down” on his racist views, referring to an interview he gave a local reporter.
“Is it racist to be proud of your own heritage? Is it racist to want to keep your own heritage pure?” Garcia-Quintana told Jamie Self of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper.
Hmmmm … that sort of comment (along with Haley’s curiously defensive refusal to remove Quintana from his post) makes this a much more interesting scandal.
“The IRS thinks conservatives should be targeted for abuse, but Governor Haley does not,” Haley’s top political advisor Tim Pearson told The State.
Wait … what? Since when was white supremacy compatible with “conservative” ideology? And more to the point, since when was Nikki Haley a “conservative?”
Anyway, two ranking Democrats in the S.C. General Assembly have called on Haley to remove Garcia Quintana from her reelection committee.
“South Carolina has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, and this kind of divisive outlook will only deter businesses and start ups from coming to our state,” S.C. Sen. Joel Lourie and S.C. House minority leader Todd Rutherford wrote in a letter to Haley. “South Carolina is losing the majority of our educated young people to other states in the region, and this kind of backwards thinking will only drive them and their talent further away.”
What … people don’t like how “Republicans” party in the Palmetto State?
Anyway, this should have been a relatively simple “scandal” for Haley’s campaign to handle. All she had to do was say she was unaware of the racist views held by Quintana and the Council of Conservative Citizens (the St. Louis-based organization he’s involved with) – and report that he had voluntarily left her steering committee.
For whatever reason, Team Haley decided to raise the bet on a losing hand – turning a “nothingburger” of a story into something that could do some actual damage to her already tenuous reelection prospects.
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