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Washington Will Run As A Democrat Despite Republican Affiliation
7/3/2013 1:01:32 PM

Maurice Washingtion

Former Charleston City Councilman Maurice Washington is no stranger to controversy.
Since 2000 he’s been a member of the controversial board of trustees for South Carolina State University. He was a principal in the now defunct Lowcountry Football Classic that hosted an annual SCSU football game in Charleston until it became embroiled in controversy. And Washington’s political career has been highlighted by controversy.

As a member of Charleston City Council Washington consistently challenged Mayor Joseph Riley’s administration on economic issues relative to minority business participation in municipal projects.

After leaving the council, he unsuccessfully challenged Riley for the office.
First elected to public office as an independent, Washington won re-election to city council as a Democrat.

In 1986 he unsuccessfully sought election to the S.C. House of Representatives as a Republican and in 2000 as a Democrat against former S.C. Sen. Robert Ford.

Friday Washington filed as a candidate in the S.C. Senate Dist. 42 special election Democratic primary amid staunch protest from Charleston County Democratic Party Chairman Richard Hricik.

Despite being endorsed for the seat by Ford, Hricik says Washington’s Republican candidacy and past support of Republican candidates and office holders brand him a Republican. Washington should seek the seat as a Republican candidate, he says.

Hricik says Washington’s support for Republicans Gov. Nikki Haley and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, in addition to having served on the transition team for former Gov. Mark Sanford forces him to protest Washington’s entrance to the race as a Democrat.

He criticized Ford’s endorsement saying, “For ex-Sen. Ford to try to use whatever limited political influence he has left to try to help elect yet another Republican, and on the Democratic ticket in a Democratic stronghold no less, is inexcusable and unforgivable.”

Hricik promises to challenge Washington’s candidacy as a Democrat throughout his campaign.

But Washington has remained undaunted. He said Friday, “I’m not afraid of those guys. My record shows I’ve always worked across party lines to serve the people I was elected to represent. I did it on Charleston City Council, I did it at SCSU and I did it as a member of Mark Sanford’s transition team.”

Washington noted that all the African Americans he recommended to Sanford for appointment were appointed. Sanford had the greatest number of African American appointees in his administration of any South Carolina governor.

Washington said he considers himself an independent Democrat who has voted in more Democratic primaries than the majority of eligible voters in the district.

He said if white Democrats can support Republicans like the late Strom Thurmond, he should be able to do the same.

“I’ll let my record speak for me,” he said.

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