S.C. political consultant Shealy fights brain tumor

COLUMBIA -- Irmo political consultant and newspaper publisher Rod Shealy Sr. has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Shealy met with doctors in Charleston on Tuesday, and said he did not yet know how the tumor would be treated. Surgery was likely, he said.

Dr. Oscar Lovelace said Shealy came to him about three weeks ago complaining that he was struggling to find words, was mixing up the numbers 5 and 9 and had headaches. Shealy also was treated for melanoma, skin cancer, in his 20s.

"When doctors hear that, it's always a concern in patients who have no other symptoms," Lovelace said. "We do know that sometimes melanoma can come back late."

Shealy, 54, said he felt healthy. He wrote on his blog that he was moved by the support of his friends and family.

Shealy has a reputation for shepherding long-shot candidates to victory, but also for tempting controversy with his tactics learned from legendary South Carolina Republican strategist Lee Atwater.

In 1992, Shealy was convicted of failing to report campaign donations given to a black fisherman he recruited to run for Congress in 1990. Shealy was fined $500. The fisherman, Benjamin Hunt, prosecutors argued, was intended to scare white voters to the polls. Those voters might support Shealy's sister for lieutenant governor.