Gov. Nikki Haley has asked that tea party activist and campaign volunteer Roan Garcia-Quintana of Greenville step down amid controversy surrounding his affiliation with a hate group.
“There is no place for racially divisive rhetoric in the politics or governance of South Carolina, and Governor Haley has no tolerance for it,” Haley’s campaign manager, Tim Pearson, said in a statement Sunday.
Garcia-Quintana was part of the 164-member Haley for Governor Grassroots Advisory Committee, a volunteer group backing Haley’s re-election bid.
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 Friday 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 we appreciate the support Roan has provided,” Pearson said in the Sunday statement, “we were previously unaware of some of the statements he had made, statements which do not well represent the views of the Governor.”