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SC gubernatorial hopeful calls on Haley to dismiss controversial campaign volunteer

By JAMIE SELF
jself@thestate.com

State Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for governor in 2014, on Saturday joined calls for Gov. Nikki Haley to dismiss a volunteer with her grassroots re-election campaign. That volunteer has ties to a white supremacist group, civil rights groups say.

Haley’s campaign responded that Sheheen is in no position to criticize Republican Haley, charging him with previously “condoning racial attacks on South Carolina’s first minority governor.”

Sheheen said Haley has had “plenty of time” to reconsider her initial decision not to dismiss Roan Garcia-Quintana of Mauldin, one of 164 co-chairs appointed in February to Haley’s grass-roots steering committee.

The Haley camp said Sheheen is being “extremely political or extremely arrogant.”

“Vince Sheheen was silent when one of his advisers, Phil Bailey, racially slurred the governor, so silent in fact that Bailey still works for him,” Tim Pearson, a Haley political adviser, said in a statement.

Bailey, who is political director of the state Senate’s Democratic Caucus, last year called Haley a “Sikh Jesus.”

Garcia-Quintana is a board member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, which opposes “all efforts to mix the races” and says it believes “the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character,” according to the group’s website.

In an interview Thursday, Garcia-Quintana denied that he or the council are racist, asking whether it is racist “to be proud of your own heritage” or “to want to keep your own heritage pure.”

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