South Carolina state representative Jerry Govan of Orangeburg has survived an attempt to oust him from his role as chairman of the S.C. Legislative Black Caucus (SCLBC), multiple sources familiar with the situation tell this news outlet.
Govan was reportedly headed toward a vote of “no confidence” last week – with several SCLBC members protesting his leadership of the organization, which was founded in 1975 as a nonprofit entity.
We were informed late last week that questions had arisen related to Govan’s management of caucus finances – and specifically whether he was following established protocol regarding certain caucus-related disbursements.
According to one SCLBC member, the situation was “tense” and there was “talk” of a no confidence vote – but Govan was able to keep his position “by changing his attitude.”
“You were about to have a good story to write until he changed his attitude,” the lawmaker told us.
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Govan (above) is no stranger to controversy. In late 2018, he was found not guilty by a jury in Richland county, S.C. of assaulting his female Democratic colleague, state representative Gilda Cobb Hunter.
Govan and Cobb-Hunter got into a heated argument in May of 2017 over competing proposals to consolidate various failed government-run school districts in Orangeburg county.
Cobb-Hunter claimed Govan grabbed and twisted her wrist during the confrontation, which took place on the grounds of the S.C. State House complex. Govan countered by saying Cobb-Hunter “shoved” papers in his face, which he proceeded to swat away.
“It was a defensive reaction,” Govan said in court. “I believe I acted in the normal way any person would.”
The only eyewitness to the scuffle, state representative Greg Duckworth, backed Govan’s version of events.
Govan, 61, has represented S.C. House District 95 (.pdf) since January of 1993. Like all members of the S.C. General Assembly, he is up for reelection this fall.
He assumed leadership of the SCLBC in January 2019, his second two-year stint at the helm of the organization. Govan was previously chairman of the SCLBC during the 115th S.C. General Assembly in 2003-2004.
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