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State House

Dick Harpootlian Hammers Russell Ott On Abortion Votes

Billboards blast state lawmaker for votes to ban abortion …

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South Carolina senator Dick Harpootlian is plastering his primary opponent’s abortion record on billboards all over the Midlands … hammering a handful of hot-button votes he hopes will sink state representative Russell Ott with Democratic primary voters next month.

“Russell Ott voted to ban abortion five times,” Harpootlian’s billboards allege, citing Ott’s status as the only pro-life Democrat in the S.C. General Assembly.

Is the veteran trial attorney correct? Yes.

According to legislative records reviewed by this media outlet, Ott voted in support of a ban on abortions after twenty weeks three times – from 2014-2016. He also voted in support of a ban on abortions following the detection of a fetal heartbeat twice – in 2019 and again in 2021.

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Ott pushed back against the criticism, claiming Harpootlian was conveniently ignoring his opposition to the abortion ban that became law last summer. This version of the heartbeat ban was upheld by the S.C. supreme court after a previous version of the legislation was struck down in January of 2023.

“I fought against and voted against the last abortion bill,” Ott said. “(Harpootlian) wasn’t even present for the debate. I’m opposed to legislation that would risk a woman’s health or criminalize doctors.”

Ott went on to accuse Harpootlian of “playing the only card he has” against him.

Well … not the only card, obviously. Harpootlian has previously blasted Ott over an alleged “pay-to-play” scandal involving  S.C. Farm Bureau, which has compensated him in the amount of $800,000 since his election for “non-lobbying services.”

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RELATED | DICK HARPOOTLIAN CLAIMS RUSSELL OTT ‘BOUGHT AND PAID FOR’

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Harpootlian and Ott are vying for the newly drawn S.C. Senate 26 – which became a contested seat after veteran senator Nikki Setzler announced his impending departure from the legislature earlier this year. Harpootlian won his current seat in the Senate in a special election in November 2018. He was subsequently reelected to a full, four-year term in 2020 – but the district he represents was later drawn off the map to accommodate population shifts toward the booming Palmetto Lowcountry.

Ott has served in the S.C. House for the past decade – inheriting his seat from his father, Harry Ott, a former Democratic minority leader. Harry Ott, incidentally, is the president and chief executive officer of S.C. Farm Bureau.

According to Ott, Harpootlian shouldn’t throw stones given his alleged self-interest including “trying to slide amendments in bills that would help his lawsuits in front of judges he votes for.”

Our media outlet has reached out to Ott’s campaign for a list of these amendments in the hopes of fairly assessing this line of criticism.

Stay tuned for further coverage …

Ott and Harpootlian face voters in the Democratic primary for S.C. Senate District 26 on June 11, 2024.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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3 comments

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The Colonel Top fan May 20, 2024 at 3:33 pm

I’d counter with “I don’t want to buy the black vote, just rent it for one day.” DICK Hartpootplian.

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Avatar photo
VERITAS Top fan May 20, 2024 at 4:25 pm

Another reason to despise DICK Harpootlian.

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The Colonel Top fan May 20, 2024 at 7:31 pm

Then I’d follow up with “I’m proud to represent Elick Murdawk”

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