Rock Hills Joyce Knott kicked off her campaign for South Carolinas 5th Congressional District seat Friday.
To a crowd of more than 100 people at the Hilton Garden Inn, the Democrat, a Spartanburg native and small-business owner in Rock Hill, said shed fight for protections for women, health care programs for senior citizens, and support for South Carolina residents and businesses.
Those are things she claimed her opponent, U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a first-term Republican from Indian Land, isnt doing. Mulvaney declined to comment.
Mulvaney beat U.S. Rep. John Spratt in the 2010 midterm elections in a wave of tea party, anti-incumbent sentiment. Since then, hes made a name for himself as one of the most conservative voices in his party. Spratt, a York lawyer and Democrat who held the 5th District seat for nearly three decades, introduced Knott, who began as a volunteer in his campaign before joining the staff.
You know what you got yourself into, Spratt told Knott in his introduction, adding that everyone should thank her for running. The seat for this district should not be allowed to go by default.
No use getting up here fooling ourselves. I know its a long shot, Spratt said. But by golly, things like this have happened before and they can happen again.
Knott, who owns a small marketing business with her husband, has never run for public office, but said her campaign and business experience will help her. She also has the temperament to bring back civility, sanity and help to break the gridlock in Washington, she said.
Knotts criticism of Mulvaney included his vote against a bill reauthorizing and increasing support for the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a federal credit agency that facilitates the sale of American goods internationally by providing loans and other financing tools to foreign buyers.
South Carolinas lawmakers in Washington split support over the bill recently signed into law.
One of the banks greatest beneficiaries and supporters is Boeing, an aerospace company that recently built a plant in South Carolina. Boeings foreign airline customers have received more than half of all loans from the bank since 2007.
(Mulvaney) was voting no on some very serious issues for South Carolina, Knott said.
After the vote, Mulvaney told a reporter he resisted lobbyists pushing him to support the bill, and decided not to support it.
Its hard for me to go back home and say we need to cut the FBIs budget by 20 percent but in the next breath say we want to increase the size of the Export-Import Bank by 40 percent. Its not consistent, he said.
Pat Calkins, who chairs the York County Democratic Party, said she was pleased with Fridays turnout and believes Knott will represent all 5th District residents.
The gathering was a sort of homecoming for area Democrats, still stunned by Spratts 2010 defeat. Lillian and Ken Warren of Lancaster said they think Knott will bring integrity to the office and knowledge of the issues.
Shes very intimate with what all groups of people need, what the issues are, whats important to them.
Jamie Self 803-329-4062McClatchy Newspapers Washington Bureau contributed