SC no stranger to political controversy


Gov. Mark Sanford’s revelation of an affair with an Argentinian woman certainly doesn’t mark the first time a Palmetto State elected official has found himself in political hot water.

As WIS-TV reports, there have been others over the past couple hundred years whose situations rivaled and even surpassed Sanford’s in terms of notoriety.

Gov. James Henry Hammond, a high-society husband, father and businessman elected in 1842, saw his term mired in controversy as his brother-in-law, Wade Hampton II, accused him of inappropriate activities with the Hampton daughters and his slaves. Gov. Hammond would late separate from his wife but go on to serve in the US Senate.

In 1856 SC Sen. Preston Smith Brooks of South Carolina attacked Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner with a walking cane in the US Senate chambers. Beaten to the floor, the senator survived but Brooks was dead less than a year later of the croup.

In 1903 State newspaper editor NG Gonzales was gunned down by Lt. Gov. James Hammond Tillman in downtown Columbia. Lt. Gov. Tillman was later acquitted by a Lexington County jury.

In 1998 Gov. David Beasley held a press conference to try and quash rumors of an affair with a staffer, the wife a prominent South Carolina attorney.

And, of course, Strom Thurmond had his progeny issues, though they weren’t publicly disclosed until after his death in 2003.

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