Dist. 97 challenger: Party is the problem

Ed Carter (left) and Patsy Knight are running for the S.C. House District 97 seat.

The S.C. House District 97 election race is all about party affiliation.

Democrat Patsy Knight, the incumbent, is being challenged by Republican Ed Carter.

The seat represents most of Dorchester County outside Summerville, and a slice of Colleton County.

When Carter, of Dorchester, a former county administrator, talks about having a council that’s united, not divided, he means one thing: Knight is the lone Democrat in the county delegation, although Sen. John W. Matthews Jr., D-Orangeburg, represents a portion of the upper county.

“We’ve had a delegation that wasn’t marching on the same path,” Carter said, after pointing out that it’s tough for a minority party to work within a delegation.

Knight, of St. George, who has held the seat since 2006, disagrees.

“Party shouldn’t stand in the way of being productive, and I’ve never let party do that,” she said. “It hurts residents when we base our decisions on what party we’re in.”

In the midst of the campaign, Carter has been haunted again by a sexual harassment accusation over a remark he made when he was an Air Force wing commander in Korea in the early 1990s.

This time, it was brought up in a political blog before the June primary, and has been circulating since.

Knight said she had nothing to do with it, and has been staying away from it.

“But I do know it’s been coming up. I think it’s up to the voters to decide,” she said.

It’s old news, Carter said. The accusation was leveled 20 years ago in the wake of the Air Force’s Tail Hook scandal when, if anybody complained, he said, you were guilty until proven innocent.

“They can say what they want. I’ll stand on my 26-year military record, with two years in Vietnam as a fighter pilot, with anybody,” he said.

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