Saturday, April 10, 2010
The AG's race and Wilson's law enforcement support
Back in 1994 when General Stan Spears first ran for the post of Adjutant General, his campaign had a simple slogan his supporters would repeat over and over: “Ask a Guardsman.”
The campaign made sense. Asking people whose lives and service to the state are impacted by the election of a public official was pure political genius. “Asking a guardsman,” the people of South Carolina elected then Democrat Spears in a banner Republican year. Guardsmen know who will work with them and lead them the best.
So do law enforcement officers. When it comes to picking the state’s top prosecutor, they know who they indentify with and who they think has the experience and leadership skills to lead the fight against crime and protect the public safety, which is, in the end, the most important job of the Attorney General.
The office of County Sheriff is where the rubber of politics and law enforcement meet the road. County Sheriffs know what they need from the state in their fight for public safety and they have the political savvy to not waste their time or their name on someone who will not deliver what is needed.
It is striking that Alan Wilson has gained the endorsements of 29 of the 46 County Sheriffs in South Carolina. The support is across regions, party lines, and population numbers. No amount of money or slick advertising and highly paid consultant tricks can rival such support from the people that fight in the trenches against crime every day.
The staff of VUI is not officially joining the Sheriffs and endorsing Wilson. But, the staff is united in that Lord lost us with his exaggerated resume that was unnecessary, and frankly, we never hear anything about the other guy running.
Further, VUI is big fan of law enforcement. As such, when a race like Sheriff, Solicitor, or Attorney General comes up, we take a page from the old Stan Spear’s campaign and “ask a cop.” And, when it comes to Sheriffs, getting 29 of them to agree on a candidate is like herding cats. One has to give Wilson credit for the talent of building such a coalition.
That said, it is a long time to June. There are those, especially those around Lord, who see the Attorney General’s office differently. Lord is well funded and will wage a blistering campaign considering those in his camp. The Wilson campaign should expect and prepare for the worst from Lord. VUI predicts that the Lord camp or someone supporting it will talk about how liberal sheriffs are before the campaign is over. Such might seem crazy, but it is about the only hand they can play after Wilson put together such a coalition of support. You can bet someone in the Lord camp is looking for something bad about one of the Sheriff’s who endorsed Wilson. Further, look for Lord to shift the campaign to business. It is his best shot. In other words, it is going to be one helluva race. VUI will be watching closely and commenting.