Aug. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Locals Split on DeMint’s Earmark War

Several South Carolina political operatives and observers declined to speak on the record for this article but agreed that DeMint’s stance threatens to create a rift with the business community. The state Chamber of Commerce recently endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen over tea party favorite and GOP nominee Nikki Haley.

“I know for a fact that Sen. DeMint is getting an earful from very large upstate corporations,” Drummond said.

Another Senate GOP source noted, “This is an example of where ideology may have some consequences.”

Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Chairman Bobby Pearce said most people in South Carolina “disagree with the earmark process and the way it has led us as a country to financial ruin.” But Pearce still argued that the Port of Charleston needs federal money because the state cannot fund a harbor that is managed by the federal government.

Pearce said DeMint recently sat down with chamber members and was told, “We don’t pretend to understand Washington. We don’t pretend to understand the earmark process. … All we know is we need your help in securing this appropriation.” Pearce added that DeMint was asked to do so in a way that would not go against his principles.

“We’re appreciative because we know he is looking for other solutions,” he said.

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