Gov. Nikki Haley is under attack from the National Jewish Democratic Council because one of her campaign leaders has ties to a hate group.
Haley has a tea party activist named Roan Garcia-Quintana of Greenville as one of 164 members of her campaign’s steering committee.
The Southern Poverty Law Center issued a recent report noting Garcia-Quintana is a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens. National Jewish Democratic Council executive director Aaron Keyak said the council has links to anti-Semitism.
“It is unacceptable for any politician to accept support from someone affiliated with an SPLC-designated white nationalist hate group, let alone select one as a co-chair of her re-election campaign’s grassroots steering committee,” Keyak said in a statement calling on her to drop his support.
Garcia-Quintana, who has called himself a “Confederate Cuban,” said today he doesn’t pay attention to what the Southern Poverty Law Center says.
“If I were a racist, I don’t think I would be supporting somebody like Nikki Haley who appointed a black man (Tim Scott) to the U.S. Senate,” he added.
While she has not formally declared for re-election, Haley already is assembling a campaign team, including co-chairs from all of the state’s 46 counties.
Asked about the National Jewish Democratic Council’s criticism, Haley campaign manager Tim Pearson said it “is clearly ginned up by some outside group.”
Pearson also noted this isn’t the first racially-charged ruckus in the early stages of the 2014 campaign — the first was an attack on Haley.
Outgoing S.C. Democratic Chair Dick Harpootlian said earlier this month that Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Vincent Sheheen will send Haley back “to wherever the hell she came from.”
Many felt Harpootlian’s remarks were racially tinged since Haley is a daughter of Indian immigrants.
Harpootlian later told MSNBC that he apologized. “All I’m suggesting is she needs to go back to being an accountant in a dress store rather than being this fraud of a governor we have,” he said.
Read more in tomorrow’s Post and Courier.