COLUMBIA — The Democratic candidate for South Carolina attorney general denied a claim from the state's GOP chairman Thursday that she moved to California before returning to begin her campaign.
Constance Anastopoulo, who is challenging Republican incumbent Alan Wilson, bought a Los Angeles house in 2015 and a New York apartment in 2017, according to property records. She also owned an apartment for the second half of 2015 in Paris, where she was living while on sabbatical from her tenured teaching position at the Charleston School of Law.
Those purchases, along with a personal 2016 blog post in which Anastopoulo referred to their "new home" in Los Angeles and discussed enrolling her daughter in school there, prompted S.C. Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick to suggest that she only moved to the Palmetto State for political convenience.
"At best, we've got a candidate that's lived in New York, Paris and Los Angeles, California, and then decided to carpetbag her way down to flyover country to run for office," McKissick said. "It's a little insulting, I think, to South Carolina voters."
But Anastopoulo's campaign spokesman, Chris Covert, said the Democratic challenger has lived in South Carolina since 1993 and always used her Charleston house as her primary residence. Anastopoulo's voter registration, drivers license, passport and taxes have all consistently been based in South Carolina for decades, Covert said.
McKissick also noted that Akim Anastopoulo, the candidate's husband who is known for his law firm's television ads, listed their Los Angeles home as his residence when he contributed to a Democratic congressional candidate in February. A January 2018 photo taken outside of the Los Angeles house for Google Street View appears to show Constance Anastopoulo's Nissan Pathfinder on the street there.
Covert was not immediately able to reach Akim Anastopoulo, but he said Constance Anastopoulo has always considered Charleston home and uses the other properties for vacation. Covert confirmed that Constance Anastopoulo moved the car to Los Angeles, where her daughter has continued to use it while enrolled in a French school there. But Covert said that did not mean Anastopoulo had changed her primary residence.
S.C. Democratic Party chairman Trav Robertson dismissed McKissick's claim and alluded to the contentious Senate hearing Thursday about sexual assault allegations U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
"Today seems to be the day that Republicans are going to attack women," Robertson said. "Drew McKissick is trying to divert people's attention from the fact that Alan Wilson is still paying the family of his indicted campaign consultants."
Wilson has continued to use the company of Rebecca Mustian, the daughter of former political strategist Richard Quinn, as a fundraising consultant for his campaign. Quinn's firm pleaded guilty to failure to register as a lobbyist in December as part of the long-running Statehouse corruption probe.
"I don’t think it was right to discontinue my affiliation just because of what her father went through," Wilson told The Post and Courier after winning a primary runoff in June. "She’s her own person."