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Charleston law professor set to run for South Carolina attorney general as a Democrat

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Charleston School of Law Professor Constance Anastopoulo announced Thursday she will run for South Carolina attorney general as a Democrat. Provided

COLUMBIA — A day before the filing deadline, Democrats have found a candidate to run for South Carolina attorney general. 

Constance Anastopoulo, a professor at the Charleston School of Law and a former litigator, said Thursday she will run to become the state's chief prosecutor.

In a statement announcing her bid, Anastopoulo took a dig at incumbent Attorney General Alan Wilson, a Lexington Republican, arguing the state deserves an attorney general who "enforces the law instead of interfering with the process."

“As attorney general I will push for ethics reform and stronger enforcement of the laws we have on the books," she said. "I will set up a triple-check ethics review system to include an independent ethics oversight committee and judicial review to restore trust back to the Attorney General’s office.” 

Before joining the Charleston School of Law in 2007, she spent 15 years as a senior litigator at the Anastopoulo Law Firm. In 2011, Charleston School of Law students selected her as "professor of the year."

Some voters may recognize Anastopoulo's name from the renowned TV ads of her lawyer husband, Akim Anastopoulo, whose catchphrase is: "Don't scream, call Akim!"

He also starred in a syndicated TV court show, "Eye for an Eye," from 2003-09 and appeared in Bravo's reality TV show "Southern Charm" as the law firm boss of a cast member.

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Democratic sources expect Anastopoulo will have the resources to run a well-funded campaign. During the 2016 presidential campaign, the couple hosted a fundraiser for Democrat Hillary Clinton at their home.

Two Republicans have already launched bids to challenge Wilson in the GOP primary on June 12: Greenville attorney William Herlong and state Rep. Todd Atwater, R-Lexington.

That contest already has devolved into a contentious battle, as the candidates have jabbed at each other in recent months.

Democrats appeared to be sitting out the race altogether, leaving the Republican nominee unopposed in November for the first time since 2006 — until Anastopoulo emerged.

Wilson's opponents, both Republican and Democratic alike, have highlighted the attorney general's connections to former consultant Richard Quinn, who was ensnared in a long-running Statehouse corruption probe before agreeing to testify.

Wilson defended himself Thursday, saying his office has "operated with the highest level of integrity."

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

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