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Beasley, DeMint Accuse Each Other Of Dirty Politics
Jimmy Moore
June 14, 2004

SPARTANBURG, SC (SC GOPUSA) -- With just over a week left until the runoff election for the Republican nomination in the U.S. Senate race, former Gov. David Beasley and U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint (R-SC) are accusing each other of unscrupulous campaign tactics.

In what must be described as the most exciting activity in this race to date, the Beasley campaign fired the first shot by sending an email to its supporters on Friday from its political consultant Richard Quinn.

Quinn is undoubtedly still reeling from the shocking upset of his son, South Carolina House Majority Leader Rick Quinn, who lost his seat to Republican newcomer Nathan Ballentine on June 8.

In the email entitled "Poll Shows Beasley Has Momentum," Quinn declares that he has "good news" for Beasley supporters.

"In the 48 hours since the Republican Primary Tuesday, momentum is clearly with David Beasley," Quinn contended.

He cited a poll he conducted of 300 primary voters across the state on June 10 that found Beasley leading with 47 percent and DeMint with 38 percent. Fifteen percent were still undecided according to the poll.

Quinn explains that this represents a ten percent jump in support for Beasley in just two days.

"Even better news is the fact that a large majority of undecided voters say elsewhere on the poll that they have a 'favorable' opinion of David Beasley, which means those voters should be easy to reach in the next ten days," predicted Quinn, who noted that almost two-thirds of poll respondents are favorable to Beasley while only about ten percent view him as unfavorable.

However, a DeMint spokesperson told SC GOPUSA that the Beasley campaign released a similar poll just prior to the primary election and the actual numbers were significantly off from what was projected by Quinn in that poll.

Other items of interest in the poll, Quinn says, is that Beasley received more votes in the Upstate than DeMint in the primary, despite the fact that the Upstate is mostly DeMint's 4th Congressional district.

"DeMint's lack of support in his base raises questions about his prospects statewide," Quinn opined.

Also, Quinn believes "the largest number of votes up for grabs in the runoff" are in Charleston and is confident that Beasley is "in better shape than DeMint" since the former governor came in second in the voter-rich Lowcountry while DeMint was in fourth place in that area in the June 8 primary.

Charleston real estate developer Thomas Ravenel actually received the most votes in his hometown last Tuesday, besting Beasley. And Ravenel, who came in a close third with nearly one-fourth of the total votes in last week's primary race, officially endorsed DeMint last Wednesday to become the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.

The final observation by Quinn is that since Beasley won 37 counties across the state, his appeal is more statewide than DeMint and that makes Beasley a more formidable and electable opponent against Democratic Senate candidate Inez Tenenbaum.

Shifting his attention from the poll to DeMint's "increasingly negative campaigning," Quinn states this is happening because of DeMint's "slow ballot growth."

"The attacks [DeMint] and his surrogates began on Governor Beasley at campaign events in the closing days of the primary have intensified, and there are reports that Thomas Ravenel has recorded commercials attacking Beasley to be aired on the coast next week," Quinn revealed.  "Having never been ahead of Governor Beasley in any public poll or at the ballot box, the DeMint camp has apparently concluded they must accelerate their attacks or be defeated."

What Quinn is referring to is a new ad that began running statewide on Saturday from the DeMint campaign.

The ad, described by the DeMint campaign as "light-hearted, but honest," examines Beasley's inconsistent positions on the issues while he was South Carolina governor.

The ad features two men talking about Beasley and his stand on the Confederate flag and the lottery.

One describes Beasley as a "flip-flopper" while the other one calls the former governor "wishy-washy." The two men argue over how to characterize Beasley's inconsistency on the issues.

"David Beasley is consistently inconsistent," remarked DeMint campaign manager Terry Sullivan. "First he was for the flag staying up (in 1994), then he wanted it down (in 1996). Then he said it should stay up (in 1998) and finally he said it should come down (in 1998)."

But Beasley campaign chairman Carroll Campbell III quickly responded to the new DeMint ad by reminding people that the Congressman promised to run a positive campaign on ideas and previously vowed to stay away from negative politics.

"It's disappointing to see Jim DeMint break his word like this," Campbell said in a release. "We all had expected better of Mr. DeMint, but it appears his own promises don't mean much. This is hypocrisy and we all thought Jim DeMint was better than this."

Campbell continued, "If we can't trust Jim DeMint to keep his word about his own campaign, we have to be concerned about whether Jim DeMint would do what he's promised to do in the Senate."

But Sullivan pointed out the hypocrisy of Beasley changing his positions and then being presented with an award in courage by liberal Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) last year for his stand on the Confederate flag.

"Not to be out done [Beasley] took an award from the Kennedys for his courageous stand....on both sides of the issue," Sullivan noted.

Furthermore, Sullivan said voters need to recall that Beasley was the one directly responsible for the Democrats taking control of the state executive branch in 1998.

"It's not enough to take a position; you have to stick with it," Sullivan proclaimed. "People need to remember that Governor Beasley's leadership led us to four years of [former Democratic Gov.] Jim Hodges."

Defending the new DeMint ad that the Beasley campaign claims is a negative attack against them, Sullivan said it is simply humorous, but purposeful and accentuates DeMint's steady leadership and optimism about the years to come.

"South Carolina needs a leader that will remind us that our best days are ahead of us instead of already behind us," Sullivan said. "This election is about the future, we must embrace our opportunities and that can only be done with true leadership."

Sullivan concluded that Beasley's change of position on free trade is especially disheartening considering the former governor only did it so he could generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds from special interest in the textile industry, such as Roger Milliken.

Milliken was the primary financier for the 2002 candidacy of Phil Bradley against DeMint, who was running for his third term in Congress at the time. DeMint eventually won that race by a considerable margin despite the efforts by Milliken.

Nevertheless, Quinn quips that Beasley's stand against free trade is making the most difference among primary voters, but warned that "we are not yet home free."

"Runoff campaign success is almost always a function of turnout from among a candidate's base," Quinn explained. "As such the Beasley team must pull out the stops to turn out his vote on June 22."

As Beasley runs the runoff race as an "underdog," Quinn said the former governor will work hard across the state up until election day. 

"If the Beasley campaign team follows suit with hard work, building on its momentum by staying on message and executing a well-organized turn-out plan, the chances of victory next Tuesday are excellent," Quinn exclaimed.

Yet, the DeMint campaign is clearly miffed by Beasley backing out of a highly anticipated statewide televised debate on South Carolina Education Television last week, the only scheduled statewide debate that was going to be conducted before the runoff election on June 22.

Even still, there will be two regional debates on WIS-TV in the Columbia area and on The Ralph Bristol Show on WORD radio in the Upstate this week.

"It's discouraging to try to honestly discuss the issues with David Beasley and figure out where he stands when he continually skips debates," DeMint said in a release.

In addition, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who has said he will not endorse either of the Senate candidates, had to get involved in the race last week to correct an inaccurate statement made by the Beasley campaign when they stated that DeMint would cancel out Graham's vote in the Senate.

"I'm not going to endorse either one of them, but I don't want the public to think that there's some major difference between me and Jim DeMint," Graham told the Associated Press on Thursday.

In fact, Graham said he agrees with many of DeMint's positions on the issues.

"The idea that Jim is going to cancel my vote out as a senator is not accurate because we do agree most of the time," Graham continued to the AP.

However, in an even more serious charge against the Beasley campaign, the DeMint campaign alleges that their opponent is involved in illegal "push polling" in a last-minute sign of desperation heading into the runoff election.

In an email to supporters on Saturday, the DeMint campaign said it has heard from "dozens of supporters" about a negative push poll being conducted across the state.

"These calls are disguised as a survey and when you tell them you support Jim DeMint, they begin a negative attack message," DeMint warns. "Please be aware! Look out for calls like this and alert your friends and family as well."

The DeMint campaign is requesting people call their campaign office at 866-546-2004 if they become a victim of these "smear tactics."

"If you have caller I.D. get the number," DeMint added. "These calls are illegal and we must track down who is responsible."

Concluding that their campaign is on the right track while their opposition is not, DeMint encouraged his supporters to stay focused on the goal and not get sidetracked by dirty politics.

"Obviously our opponents are desperate and scared of our momentum," DeMint said. "With just over a week to go, we must work together with visionary solutions that will ensure our victory."

SC GOPUSA Poll: What do you think of the new DeMint ad describing Beasley as a 'flip-flopper' and 'wishy-washy'? VOTE NOW!

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