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McMaster vs. Sellers: Lt. Gov. Race Shapes Old Against New in SC's Future
10/1/2014 4:35:11 PM

Henry McMaster

Bakari Sellers
By Barney Blakeney

Something old, something new. For many that term describes the Nov. 4 general election for South Carolina Lt. Governor in the race between former Attorney General Henry McMaster and House Dist. 90 Rep. Bakari Sellers. The race pits old against new in several aspects, according to many political observers.

McMaster is a 66 year-old Republican whose stints as state attorney general and Republican Party chair casts him as a classic example of a GOP (Grand Old Party) politician. Sellers, whose father is civil rights activist and professor Cleveland Sellers and who most concede was unjustly railroaded into a prison sentence for allegedly inciting riots that led to the South Carolina State College Orangeburg Massacre of 1968, is the 30 year-old second youngest member of the general assembly having served since 2006.

While McMaster, a 2010 candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination represents conservative South Carolina politics at its most traditional, Sellers represents a new non-traditional faction of liberal Democrats. He is a Morehouse College alumnus and University of South Carolina School of Law graduate who interned with Sixth Congressional Dist. Rep. James Clyburn and Atlanta, Ga. Mayor Shirley Franklin.

Republican candidates for statewide offices are expected to sweep the Nov. 4 elections, but Sellers could pull an upset, some observers feel.

Independent voter Linda Brown of Mount Pleasant said Sellers has the energy and youth young independent voters are looking for and he exhibits the leadership qualities and abilities many feel can help transform South Carolina into a future reality they envision. His success will depend on his ability to get out the vote, she said.

Charleston County Democratic Party Chairman Brady Quirk-Garvan also is among those younger voters who feel Sellers’ candidacy transcends the past into South Carolina’s future.

“What’s most amazing is Bakari stands on the shoulders of some important people in history. He sees that and is one of the most hopeful and optimistic candidates representative of what South Carolina can do. That resonates with people. It’s not what’s happening, but what can happen. Bakari will be a force to reckon with in the coming years and decades,” Quirk-Garvan predicts.

Quirk-Garvan also predicts the Tea Party wave of 2010 will subside in the general election and Sellers’ ability to connect with voters from vastly different social and political backgrounds could sway some voters who are tired of political dysfunction.

Old school Democrat William ‘Bill’ Saunders added to the chorus of those who see Sellers’ candidacy as a contrast, and perhaps a blending, of the old and new.

Sellers candidacy is built on foundations laid by previous statewide officeholders such as the late Victoria DeLee, Thomas Broadwater and others, Saunders said. Sellers stands on their shoulders as a representative of today’s best examples of young achievers. Like Quirk-Garvan, Saunders thinks the current environment of political turmoil may work to Sellers’ benefit.

Irrespective of Sellers’ success, Saunders said his candidacy offers an opportunity to raise issues relevant to poor and Black communities.

Visitor Comments

Submitted By: Jim Riggs Submitted: 10/2/2014
Sellers looks like a winner to me. I love his enthusiasm and his courage.

Submitted By: Nancy Canniff Submitted: 10/2/2014
I think he is the total package!

Submitted By: Dan kienker Submitted: 10/2/2014
McMaster far and away much more qualified. In fact, probably over qualified for this do nothing job.

Submitted By: Linda Dennis Submitted: 10/3/2014
Yesterday, Bakari spent time with the A backpack journalist class, expanding day learning at Sanders Clyde Creative Arts School, in the Charleston Promise Neighborhood. These students are learning how to become writers and citizens journalists. His visit provided these students/scholars with hope for the future, and the importance of staying in school. What really reached these young 3rd graders was when he was asked by one, "what do you do to help people?" His response - "When I wake up every day, I ask myself, who can I help today? I want to be someone's hero!" These students got to meet face to face yesterday a "real world hero and role model!". Certainly was better than a fictional character - he's real, and we wish him well! Thank you Bakari!

Submitted By: Lady Pamela Submitted: 10/5/2014
If Mr. McMaster is overqualified for this position, then why is he running for a taxpayer job that requires him to do nothing with good pay? How many hard working people do you think or know, that are overqualified on jobs, who go to work everyday and are underpaid, would qualify for Lt. Governor for the state of SC...the "do nothing job"? Wouldn't a job on Wall St suit Mr. McMaster's employment better than a part-time, $46,000 salary, Lt. Gov's office that helps all people of SC rather than just one person's ego, greed & power tripping perks? I'm sure McMaster's would be warmly welcomed by those guys moreso than us on Main St. SC with Bakari Sellers! GOTV people PLEASE!!!

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