Democrats just won’t join Harpootlian in opposing Courson, or in maligning Sheriff Lott

Somehow I missed this yesterday

Dick Harpootlian has had a terrible time getting Democrats to line up with him behind Robert Rikard, his chosen candidate to run against their favorite Republican, John Courson. Here’s the latest, in which Dick went overboard to the extent that even Rikard came to the sheriff’s defense:

State Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian linked the endorsement to Courson’s July appointment of Lott to the newly created Public Employee Benefit Authority, a two-year term that includes a $12,000-a-year salary.

“Just two months ago he accepted a $24,000 appointment from the Senator he now chooses to endorse,” Harpootlian said in a news release. “Voters in John Courson’s district see the pattern of Courson using taxpayers funds for his own benefit.”

Lott was out of town and unavailable to comment, according to a spokesman.

Democrat Robert Rikard, who is challenging Courson for the District 20 state Senate seat on Nov. 6, defended Lott, saying: “Leon Lott makes his own decisions, not based on what board he’s appointed to,” said Rikard, a former Richland sheriff’s deputy under then-Sheriff Allen Sloan…

The chairman who can't get any respect.

Rikard’s right. Leon (whose birthday is tomorrow) knows his own mind. This is one of the things that bugs me about people who take the “follow the money” logic to extremes: It doesn’t occur to Dick (or he won’t admit that it occurs to him) that maybe Courson appointed Lott because he’s someone with whom he enjoys mutual respect, not the other way around. That sort of small-minded interpretation defies human nature. It supposes that Leon wouldn’t have backed the senator before, which is not reasonable to assume if you know the sheriff. And the assumption is grossly insulting.

Now a Democrat in a whole other race has seen fit to take issue with Dick’s one-man crusade against the president pro tem:

Columbia, SC – Democratic House candidate for district 78 released the following statement in response to SC Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian’s comments yesterday:

“I have known Sheriff Leon Lott for many years, so I was extremely disappointed when I read Chairman Harpootlian’s comments. Like Sheriff Lott, I have an independent streak…
That is why I am so proud that Sheriff Lott has endorsed my candidacy for House District 78. If elected, I will do what is best for the people of Richland County and not one political party.”


These Richland County Democrats just won’t get with the program, will they?

5 thoughts on “Democrats just won’t join Harpootlian in opposing Courson, or in maligning Sheriff Lott

  1. Brad

    FYI, after I posted this, Ms. Bernstein’s GOP opponent, incumbent Rep. Joan Brady, weighed in to agree with her — or at least to support the sheriff:

    “Columbia, SC – State Representative Joan Brady issued the following statement defending Sheriff Leon Lott from recent attacks reported in the State newspaper.

    ‘Leon Lott is a big part of the Columbia area’s law enforcement team. Sheriff Lott has a knack for getting results and he is one of the few local leaders along with me who has a solid reputation for bringing all sides together. Together, we will work to solve this rash of violent crimes taking place in Five Points, the area’s growing problem of domestic violence and the horrifying increase in drunk driving. I have worked closely with Sheriff Lott on a variety of issues, including the Sex Offender Residency Restriction Act, the model anti-Meth legislation and MADD endorsed anti- DUI legislation.

    “And although, we don’t always agree on the best way to proceed, I fully respect his intentions and his ability to bring others together to protect our communities, regardless of political considerations.”

  2. tavis micklash

    I’m not a big Courson fan. I also don’t plan to vote for him.

    To be honest he IS my type of guy. He is willing to work across party lines and is pretty moderate.

    I just detest the way the legislature works. In my opinion its just poorly run and accomplishes little.

    If you want the organization to change you have to change out people. The entire hate congress, love my congressman thing applies to state legislature too.

    Given Courson’s history with nepotism

    I think its fair to question his appointment of Sheriff Lott and the subsequent endorsement.

    Sheriff Lott seems to have no problem giving an endorsement though.

    I recall during the Columbia City Council race he gave Cameron Runyan an endorsement over long term solicitor Robert Bolchoz based on Cameron’s ability and background in public safety. This always seemed bizarre to me.

  3. bud

    I don’t like Sheriff Lott because of his obsession with expensive toys like his tank but Harpotlian comes across as a hatchet man. Not sure that plays well in Richland County even though it tends to be pretty liberal by South Carolina standards.

  4. Steven Davis II

    @bud – “I don’t like Sheriff Lott because of his obsession with expensive toys”

    Or is it just because he won’t let you play with them?


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