Posted on May 12, 2005

S.C. Governor Doubts Black Will Be Elected

Jim Davenport, AP, May 10

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Mark Sanford said that it might be a long time before a black candidate is elected to statewide office in South Carolina, raising a few eyebrows but prompting agreement from some black leaders.

In a television interview that aired Sunday, Sanford was asked about blacks winning statewide office.

“Can I interject?” Sanford asked, interrupting the show’s host. “I think there never will be.”

“You said you don’t think there ever will be?” asked Craig Melvin, host of “Awareness” on Columbia television station WIS.

“In the foreseeable future,” Sanford said. It hasn’t happened in the last 100 years and “that is tragic,” said the governor, a white Republican.

The only way for a black person to assume statewide office would be to allow governors to appoint some positions that are currently elected, Sanford said, referring to proposals under consideration in the Legislature that would restructure the governor’s powers.