Impressions from Anderson
April 16, 2002
Special thanks go to the Anderson Republican Party for inviting me to attend their debate between the six candidates for the Republican nomination to the Third District House seat. It was a great time for the editor to get out there and actually put some faces with the E-mails!
I had never been to the Anderson Civic Center before. I was actually impressed. Sure, it wasn't a really large building but it was obvious that Anderson is planning to grow. Lots of grounds surrounded the building and the sports complex adjoining it was really cool. The whole area seemed alive with joggers.
The first thing I saw was Jim Miles' campaign camper. The first candidate I met was Jim Miles. However, he must have had an engagement because I didn't see him stand when all the candidates were introduced and didn't see him anywhere after the event.
Bob Peeler was there. He had just arrived from Greenville where he was on the Ralph Bristol show. There appeared to be quite a few Peeler supporters around. He said he felt good about the show. He was glad to get an opportunity to answer the questions from Jimmy in Spartanburg.
Oh, I did see Peeler stand to be recognized with the other candidates but I lost sight of him soon after and I believe he must have also had an engagement that did not allow him to stay to the conclusion of the event.
I caught a glimpse of Ken Wingate. I was in the food line and wasn't about to give up my spot. He was talking with one of the staff members of another campaign. It brought an idea to my mind--Ken Wingate as Lt. Governor. Hmmmmmmmm. Oh, staying consistent with my exits, Wingate also disappeared before the forum began.
Like all the rest Mark Sanford was pressing the flesh before the event began. He also had an enthusiastic group of college Republicans there helping him out. He was campaigning for the vote of the lady in front of me in the food line. I heard her say, "You remind me of someone. Yeah, you remind me of the guy I saw on TV using the big earth moving equipment." No, this is not a joke. That is what she said. Sanford was very patient and actually went out to the lobby to get a brochure to bring back to the lady.
To my knowledge, Sanford was the only gubernatorial candidate who sat through the event.
The other lady in front of me showed that the Republican Party has a broad tent. She asked me what I was doing there. I told her that I was the editor of an opinion Web site. She asked me what type of people commented there. I told her it was primarily conservative people. Of course, I pointed out, the site is for everyone, but conservatives seem to be more vocal on these kinds of sites.
At that point, I noticed her husband kind of cringe. She was quiet for a moment and then asked, "Well, what do you know about these candidates?" I had to admit not much. I was there to learn more about them. "Do you know where they stand on women’s issues?" She asked. I replied, "Well, what do you consider to be women’s issues?" She said emphatically, "First, equal pay for equal work." Then she said in a whisper, "and right to choose."
Oh, yeah, there was a debate as well. Stay tuned for our next report from Anderson, "Connections vs. Charisma."