CHARLOTTE — Speaking to South Carolinas delegation to the Democratic National Convention this morning, state Sen. Vincent Sheheen again refrained from saying whether he plans another run against Gov. Nikki Haley in 2014.
Sheheen, the Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, spoke to the delegates at their hotel in Charlotte Tuesday morning.
The convention officially begins today and will conclude Thursday, when President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden accept their partys re-nomination.
Sheheen criticized the states Republican leadership over the past decade for still-high unemployment rates, ethics violations and what he characterized as a GOP-led attack against public education all the result of what can happen.
S.C. Democrats have a perspective to share across this country that people need to hear, he said.
Raising the question of whether hell run has become a popular refrain among the delegation.
Following Sheheens remarks, S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Dick Harpootlian said jokingly, That was a hell of a state Senate speech. The crowd erupted.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia did not speak to the delegation as scheduled.
Lewis participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961 and was beaten severely at a bus station in Rock Hill, where he and other civil rights activists traveling through the Deep South protesting segregation stopped and were met by an angry mob.
Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, the first black student to attend Clemson University, spoke in Lewis spot.
Its time to turn (South Carolina) back to blue, Gantt said. The message of the Democratic Party is tailored to the average citizen in South Carolina.
Gantt said his father was proud when a judge in 1963 said, Harvey Gantt can go to Clemson.
His father was denied a high school education, Gantt said, but saw his children gain access to higher education.
Gantt said he called his parents on the night Barack Obama was elected president in November 2008 to say, The dream is still alive.
Gantt hopes to do the same on Nov. 6, having the blessing of making that call again to my parents.
Several York County residents attended the breakfast, including Joyce Knott, whos challenging U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, a Republican from Indian Land; Pat Calkins, York County Democratic Party chairwoman; and Hattie Ross, president of the York County Democratic Womens Council.
Ross found Gantts speech moving because she grew up at a time when Rock Hill was still segregated.
We all witnessed a day that we never thought wed see an Afro-American elected president of the United States, Ross said. We still have a long ways to go.
A few more turnings of the generations, and were going to continue to move forward.
Jamie Self 803-329-4062