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SC Congressman criticizes opponent’s voting record in new ad

June 1, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford has released an attack ad against his Republican opponent less than two weeks before South Carolina primaries, a move a political analyst says is very telling for a man who has never lost a race.

In a 30-second TV ad released Wednesday, the 1st District Congressman’s campaign criticizes South Carolina state Rep. Katie Arrington’s voting record on fiscal issues in her one term in the General Assembly. The narrator reads as a typewriter print moves across the screen. The ad said in part:

“In the race for Congress, it’s important to keep the facts in mind. Mark Sanford was rated best in Congress for cutting spending and attacking debt. Representative Katie Arrington? Not exactly.”

The ad ended with saying “Facts matter.”

Speaking to The Associated Press on Thursday, Sanford said politicians often align themselves with a conservative position during election season, but their votes reveal otherwise. Arrington released a TV ad last month criticizing her GOP rival for not being a strong supporter of President Donald Trump.

In a statement to the AP, Arrington said Thursday that the congressman’s “years of bashing President Trump” are “catching up to him.” Sanford said his ad is meant to hold the lawmaker accountable for her voting record.

An incumbent with name recognition who spends money on an ad that names their opponent only shows how seriously he or she is taking the competition, said College of Charleston political science professor Gibbs Knotts.

Sanford disagreed.

“I leave it up to political pundits to give their different perspective,” Sanford said. “We’re running a campaign straight up the middle.”

But Arrington isn’t buying it.

“Mark’s attacking me because he knows he’s in trouble,” Arrington said in response to the ad. “Talk is cheap. Voters are tired of a career politician who is full of cheap talk. Voters want a new, strong voice who will support President Trump.”

Five candidates - Republicans Sanford, Arrington, and Dimitri Cherny and Democrats Joe Cunningham and Toby Smith - are vying for their respective party’s nomination in the June 12 primaries.

Sanford and Arrington are set to square off during their first debate Friday on the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier in Mount Pleasant. Dimitri Cherny was not invited.

Charleston County GOP Chairman Larry Kobrovsky said his executive committee unanimously voted against Cherny’s participation in the debate.

“He’s not a serious candidate for the Republican party,” Kobrovsky said.

A Bernie Sanders supporter, Dimitri Cherny previously ran against Sanford as a Democrat and describes himself as the “American radical candidate.”

In a statement to the AP, Cherny said he suspects the party’s “real concern” is that if he shared his message on the debate platform, that voters would choose him and “not the traditional Republican values.”

The debate begins at 7 p.m.

State primaries are June 12.

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