By David Quick
The Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor energized a group of 200 party faithful Saturday on a day when most Charlestonians were basking in the sun, enjoying outdoor activities or focusing on football.
Vincent Sheheen and Ashley Cooper, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, blamed the state's leadership for the past eight years for one of the nation's highest unemployment rates and for making South Carolina the butt of jokes.
'We are in crisis in this state,' gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen told the crowd of about 200 people Saturday at the Charleston County Democratic Party's Countdown to Victory Countywide Rally. 'It is quite dire,' he said.
Covering the politics of the Lowcountry, South Carolina and the nation.
Sheheen and Cooper vowed to work with the Legislature to move the state in a better direction.
They appeared at the Charleston County Democratic Party's Countdown to Victory Countywide Rally at the International Longshoreman's Association Hall, along with several other candidates, including Ben Frasier, who is running for Congress, and Marjorie Johnson, who is running for Secretary of State.
The Rev. Joseph Darby introduced Sheheen, saying that he and his family have a proven history of serving the people of South Carolina.
"The candidate (Sheheen) has a track record for standing up for what's right, what's fair and what's progressive, and also being able to reach across political lines to other people with good sense to make progress for all South Carolinians," Darby said. "We don't need a governor who puts on old, tired political shoes passed down by Mark Sanford."
Sheheen and Cooper addressed the need to drop partisan politics and to work together to solve problems.
"It's our responsibility to share with our neighbors, with our friends and with our church members the situation that South Carolina is in," Sheheen said.
"It is quite dire. We are in crisis in this state. We have one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and we have for the last seven years. We are losing young South Carolinians who are going elsewhere for economic opportunity. We are laying pubic school teachers off in this state at a rate we have never seen in my lifetime."
He attributed these developments to "an arrogance of power," "abdication of responsibility" and a lack of vision.
Cooper also underscored the importance of this election.
"We've got an opportunity right now. We can win this thing. I'll tell you why we'll win this thing. Right now, our state leads the nation in unemployment and we're at the bottom of the nation in per capita income. We lead the nation in stroke, diabetes, heart disease and infant mortality and we're at the bottom of the nation in infrastructure. ... We can do better."
He urged rally attendees to get people to vote.
"We're too small of a state," Cooper said. "Let's join together, let's get out of this recession and let's put South Carolina in the news for all the right reasons."